How Nonviolent Tactics Trigger Coups in Civil Wars
Although coups are linked to counterinsurgency wars, less than half of such wars have experienced military interventions in politics. We argue that the occurrence of nonviolent resistance explains this variation. In the context of guerrilla warfare, social dissent motivates soldiers to plot against the government. Knowing that insurgents use subversion to mobilize popular support, soldiers perceive civilian opposition, in particular strikes, as a sign of heightened rebel strength. Supported by economic elites, soldiers develop the conviction that overthrowing their government is the only chance to protect them and the country from defeat. Case-study evidence from Argentina and Venezuela and results from a macro-quantitative analysis (1950-2005) support our argument. Civil nonviolent resistance in general and strikes in particular increase the risk of coups during civil war.