In almost all of Latin America the army is the only organized social force . .. There exists among all [officers'] a latent virus: the temptation to intervene in politics.
André Siegfried (1933)
Within a month military coups had toppled the elected governments of Peru and Venezuela (see below). In Chile, with a more muscular democratic tradition, the government had moved fast to crush an abortive army conspiracy. Bolivia and Colombia might be next in line.
For what had happened in his own country, Chile's President Gabriel González Videla last fortnight blamed an...