Castro's Cuba and Stroessner's Paraguay: A comparison of the totalitarian/authoritarian taxonomy.
AuthorSondrol, Paul Charles.
Cuba -- Politics and government -- 1959-
Paraguay -- Politics and government -- 1954-1989
Authoritarianism -- Latin America
AdvisorWilliams, Edward J.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIn Latin America, the regimes of Fidel Castro and Alfredo Stroessner are indiscriminately posited as representative cases reflecting similarities and differences of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes. This work tests the more general typology by studying the contrasting institutions, processes, and styles of the Castro and Stroessner autocracies, habitually labeled totalitarian and authoritarian, respectively. Totalitarianism emerged as an analytic concept as social scientists attempted to understand characteristics of the Hitler and Stalin regimes distinctive from other forms of dictatorship. While authoritarian regimes are generally based on history and tradition, leaving intact existing arrangements regarding wealth, status, church, family, and traditional social behavior, totalitarian regimes aim to revolutionize and politicize society, culture, and personality. They claim jurisdiction over the whole life of the citizenry and obliterate the boundaries between public and private. Despite the corpus applicable to totalitarianism, authoritarianism, and Latin America, few studies exist melding all three topics in a comparative context. Paraguay has long remained outside the mainstream of serious study by political scientists, yet Stroessner's 34-year dictatorship was one of the world's most durable. This research contributes to a better understanding of a nation and regime begging scholarly attention. Stroessner's downfall leaves Castro's Cuba the Western Hemisphere's oldest non-democracy and provokes analysis revealing organizational resemblances common to both regimes. Divergences relate more fully to sui generis social forces, forms of government, and geopolitics. The work analyzes the differences and similarities between Cuba and Paraguay, linking them to the larger typologies by focusing on four distinguishing variables comprising the totalitarian syndrome: (1) the supreme leader; (2) the nature and ideology of the single, official party; (3) the forms and uses of political force in the state control apparatus; and (4) the scope and degree of societal mobilization and mass legitimacy engendered by the regime. The work concludes by considering the policy relevance and utility of these heuristic paradigms.
Degree ProgramPolitical Sciences