A pronunciamiento (Spanish: [pɾonunθjaˈmjento], Portuguese: pɾonunciamento [Pɾunũsiɐˈmẽtu], pronouncement, announcement or declaration), is a form of military rebellion or coup d'état particular to Spain, Portugal and Latin America, particularly in the 19th century.
Whereas in a classic coup d'état a rebel faction which controls some element of the armed forces seizes control of the state by sudden movement, organized and executed in stealth, in a pronunciamiento a group of military officers publicly declare their opposition to the current government (that is, the present chief executive and cabinet, who may be legally elected civilians, or the result of a previous coup).
The rebels then wait for the rest of the armed forces to declare for or against the government. Generally, a pronunciamento is preceded by a period of preparation, when the would-be rebels "sound out" as many other officers as possible to determine if their views are widely shared.1
There is no fighting at this point; if the rebellion has no support, the organizers lose. They may have to flee the country, or retire from the armed forces, or may be arrested. If the bulk of the armed forces declare in favor of the pronunciamiento, the government resigns. It is similar to a vote of no-confidence, except that issued by the armed forces, not by the legislature.
The Spanish Civil War which commenced in 1936 was not started by way of a pronunciamiento, but as a coup d'état. Hugh Thomas writes in his authoritative text on the Spanish Civil War that, "Mola's plans were made clear in a circular in April. The planned rising was to be no pronunciamiento of the old style. Two branches of the plot, one civil, one military, were to be set up in all the provinces of Spain."2
- Luttwak, Edward (1969). Coup d'État: A Practical Handbook. Greenwich, CT: Fawcett. pp. 9–10..
- Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War (Penguin Books Ltd, 1968) 143
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