Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Photo Essay: Latin America’s Militaries in a Year of Unrest

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latin america’s armed forces

2019: A Retrospective


IN an era

A wave of political turmoil in the second half of 2019 put regional militaries in the spotlight, raising questions about their role in politics and evolution on human rights.


October 8

In a televised address, flanked by military top brass, President Lenín Moreno defends his initial response to violent protests over his elimination of fuel subsidies. Unrest continued, and Moreno later deployed the army to enforce a curfew in the capital.
Photo: YouTube


November 13

Jeanine Áñez shakes hands with Bolivia’s new army commander after the military pressured President Evo Morales to resign. After the entire line of succession resigned, Senator Áñez became interim president in a congressional vote – without Morales’ MAS party.
Photo: Aizar Raldes/AFP/Getty


October 1

President Martín Vizcarra meets with his joint chiefs of staff and the commander of the National Police of Peru after he moved to dissolve Congress, provoking a leadership crisis. Congress responded by suspending Vizcarra on grounds of incapacity, but the military and the police publicly backed the president.
Photo: Andres Valle/Presidencia Peru/Getty


October 20

Surrounded by military leaders, President Sebastián Piñera goes on TV and extends a state of emergency that sent soldiers into the streets for the first time since Chile’s return to democracy. “We are at war,” he said after a hike in subway fare sparked violent protests.
Photo: El Mostrador/Facebook


October 21

A soldier guards a subway station in Santiago, Chile, after a weekend of protests saw violent demonstrations, including the burning of multiple stations.
Photo: Esteban Felix /AP


October 24

A woman addresses members of armed forces’ National Guard during a protest over power cuts in Caracas. Photo: Leonardo Fernandez Viloria/Getty


October 7

A woman passes by soldiers near a roadblock set up by protesters in Quito. A transport strike in response to the government’s elimination of fuel subsidies, which doubled the price of diesel, pushed the president to declare a state of emergency.

Photo: Dolores Ochoa/AP


November 26

Soldiers patrol near a march after the death of 18-year-old student Dilan Cruz, who died after being injured by a riot police projectile during a protest over access to education.
Photo: Guillermo Legaria/Getty

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