15 July 2023

What is a coup? – Causes, characteristics and consequences

By Donald

In the field of politics, an issue quite interesting and controversial it is that of coups d’état in a country. Throughout history, many have occurred for different causes and reasons. However, this is a movement which is led by a political image recognized by a nation.

A coup is defined as an act that is outside the law of a country and that involves violent acts in most cases. What a coup seeks is the overthrow of a president or figure of authority, whether it is a president of a country, a public leader or any other figure that is related to the government of a State. Usually these movements they are usually carried out by paramilitary forcepoliticians with certain influences and military groups.

What are the characteristics of a coup d’état according to the law?

Among the most important characteristics that are related to politics and a coup are:

  1. He seeks to seize power temporarily. In general, a coup is carried out due to discontent of a political party, abuse of power and other reasons that threaten the security of a people.
  2. They are acts that are not contemplated in the law of any country and are illegal acts. In other words, it does not have democratic legitimacy.
  3. Coups are usually carried out by military forces or paramilitary groups with an ideology contrary to that of the current government.
  4. Civilians can also stage a coup.
  5. Regardless of the intentions of the coup, it goes against the constitutional order and democratic processes.
  6. These acts are usually linked to violence, repression, political prisoners and others.
  7. Every coup is usually linked to the suspension of civil rights and politicians. The amount of time will depend on the laws of each country.

As you can see, any coup d’état is usually the product of the discontent of a nation or population, political differences or abuse of power. However, this is not all, some of the causes are usually the abuse of power or the simple fact of apply changes that are on the verge of breaking the law. On the other hand, a fairly common aspect that is usually the main cause of a coup is the quality of the economy. Normally, the simple fact of not having fair wages and excessive inflation is enough to call a coup.

What are the causes of a coup?

There are many reasons why a coup can take place in a country. They are usually associated with the political or economic sphere. However, some of the most common causes are as follows:

  • High index in political and economic crisis.

Both the political and economic aspects are one of the main causes for which a coup takes place. The reason for this is because any of the two points generates discontent, mistrust and, in turn, weakens an entire government. This leads to the population being the main affected and wanting to take control by force.

Another of the causes of a social commotion at the national level. That a government is constantly promising projects, enabling budgets and not meeting the objectives can lead to corruption. It is important to take into account that corruption can be part of the population itself, as well as the government of a state or nation. In this second case, the impact is usually more significant, since it is the people who are really affected.

  • Violation of human rights.

Another of the most common causes, the simple fact of not complying with human rights, can be the trigger for a social outbreak. This is something that is mainly given by government regimes of authoritarian origin and that want to have full control of a country through force and subjugation.

  • Religious and/or ethnic differences.

Although it is rare today, conflicts of religious or ethnic origin can be an influence in a certain group with strategic and military power. The magnitude of this cause is such that it can be a strong reason to weaken a government regardless of the country. Examples of these cases are Arab countries, in which religion is a great influence on the masses.

  • By foreign influence or an international government.

This is something that is already more closely linked to the society that has been established between former governments and foreign countries. In general, they are political leaders who have maintained relations at a social level with world powers and who, in some way, are sponsored by them. In exchange, they seek to seize power by unconventional and illegal means, as is the coup.

What are the consequences of a coup?

In some cases, the consequences of acts behind a coup they can be temporary in the short term. However, it is normal for the duration of the effects to be long-lasting and, depending on the country, they may be permanent. Among the most common consequences in this regard are the following:

  1. The violation of human rights is always present in all coups.
  2. There are usually people who are being subjected to torturepsychological abuse and isolation from society.
  3. Death of innocent people, in general, tend to be journalists, opposition politicians, activists, among others.
  4. True democracy is lost, since it is the military and similar combatant bodies that are in charge of power. Therefore, the law and rights take a backseat.
  5. Politics become unstable in the country, generating division in the population and fragmenting society.
  6. Economic and social development are negatively influenced.
  7. An entire country can be left in isolation. Either due to the closure of its borders with other States, having left world organizations to which other countries belong, as well as ending the relations that were held with foreign governments.

government and society

If we talk about the relationship between the government and society, it is difficult to talk about this, since there are many factors to consider. For example, there is the civil resistance, which is constantly calling for marches, protests and demonstrations that, in general, do not end peacefully. Although this is the intention from the beginning, campaigns and destabilization strategies they are set in motion to obscure the rise of a discontented population.

On the other hand, former rulers, politicians and high-ranking figures may lend support to a certain group in order to start a coup without having to lose their political office. The main idea of ​​an act like this is to be able to improve both the political, social and economic situation of a country.

Examples of coups in world governments

There have been many coups that have taken place in the world and in the history of mankind. Among the most important and recognized, we can mention the following:

  1. Coup in Chile (1973).
  2. Coup in Egypt (2013).
  3. Coup in Myanmar (2021).