an example of regime change

REGIME CHANGE. The GNAD doesn't tag as "regime change" a situation where the president/ruler steps aside but continues to rule from behind the scenes, sometimes through the new head of state. It does, however, tag as regime change a situation where the ruler loses both the office and commanding power, even though the oligarchy that supported the ruler remains intact. People power brought down the dictators of El Salvador and Guatemala in 1944; in Guatemala a sufficient power shift occurred to open the way for democratic elections, while in El Salvador oligarchical influence entered the temporary power vacuum and set up a new dictator. Both, in the GNAD, are tagged as "regime change," the better to call attention to such comparisons for study and strategy.

Surinamese protest against president, 1999


After only three years in office, the president of Suriname Jules Wijdenbosch became the target of harsh criticism and dissatisfaction because of his government’s management of the economy and domestic affairs. In 1998, the Dutch government had decided to stop aid to Suriname amid drug and financial mismanagement scandals, which increased the economic crisis. In May 1999, the struggling national economy reached a new low when its currency plummeted in value, from 800 guilders to the dollar to 2,000, and inflation was at 70%, inciting civil unrest and nationwide protests.

Serbians overthrow Milosevic (Bulldozer Revolution), 2000

Colour Revolutions (2000s)

During his first seven years as president of Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic led the country into several wars with Croatia and Bosnia and isolated it internationally. While he spent money on the country’s secret police and military, unemployment reached as high as 50 percent before 1996. Citizens led several anti-war and pro-democracy campaigns in the early ‘90s, but failed due to lack of outside support. Opposition groups continued both violent and non-violent struggles against the regime, but neither was having any success.

Swedish workers general strike for economic justice, power shift (Ådalen) 1931


The general strike in Ådalen, Sweden, in 1931 was part of a much larger industrial struggle between the Swedish Employers’ Federation (SAF) and the Swedish Union Federation (LO), a struggle that had been continuing since the late 19th century, if not longer.

Georgians overthrow a dictator (Rose Revolution), 2003

Colour Revolutions (2000s)

The Rose Revolution in Georgia sought to overthrow President Eduard Shevardnadze. Shevardnadze was elected as president in 1995. A hold-over from the communist period, Shevardnadze was often seen as a puppet for the Soviet Union. In 2003, his actions would lead to the downfall of his regime and the institution of free elections in Georgia.

Lithuanians campaign for national independence, 1988-1991

Soviet Bloc Independence Campaigns (1989-1991)

Russia first occupied Lithuania and introduced a program of “Russification,” an attempt to eliminate Lithuanian language and culture in favor of Russian culture, in the mid-19th century. After 22 years of independence from Russia, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in 1939 reintroduced the Soviet Union’s dominance over Lithuania—as well as the other Baltic states: Estonia and Latvia. The Soviet Union publicly stated that Lithuania had joined the USSR willingly, although secret protocols of the pact disputed this. Following World War II, the Soviet Union reoccupied Lithuania.

Mongolians win multi-party democracy, 1989-1990

Asian Democracy Campaigns (1980s)
Soviet Bloc Independence Campaigns (1989-1991)

In 1921 the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP) came to power and soon aligned the country with the USSR. Until this democracy campaign in 1989, the MPRP ruled Mongolia through a constitutionally-sanctioned single-party government. By the mid-1980’s, pro-reform sentiments and movements were spreading in Eastern Europe, especially at the universities. However, Mongolians remained isolated from all of this except for the few students who could afford to study abroad in Eastern Europe.

Japanese protest security treaty with U.S. and unseat Prime Minister, 1959-1960


The political atmosphere in Japan in the 1950s was anything but calm. Still reeling from the Second World War, citizens were coming to terms with their newly democratic leaders—politicians who, before the war, had been ardently fascist. A growing nationalist movement was forming, as well as strong leftist political factions. These two movements opposed Japan’s strong ties with the United States, and disagreed with the American military presence in their country.

Haitians overthrow a dictator, 1946


The Haitian President, Elie Lescot had been granted the powers of a dictator by his congress and was backed by the United States. He was representative of the mulatto ruling class during a time when black political radicalism was growing in Haiti. Lescot was also closely tied with the Dominican Dictator Rafael Trujillo. The Haitian student journal, Zinglins, had criticized President Lescot’s dictatorship and begun a call for freedom of press even as early as May 1945. The government quickly suppressed this opposition voice. However, the editors of another stude

Latvians campaign for national independence, 1989-1991

Soviet Bloc Independence Campaigns (1989-1991)

The Baltic republics of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania achieved their independence from the Soviet Union by conducting movements based on nonviolence. Tactics included: nonviolent protests, noncooperation, and defiance to combat Soviet military intervention and political intrusion. The problems for Latvia in particular were born after the Soviet occupation following World War II. From that point forward the Soviet leaders employed a program to eradicate the previous Latvian society and to force the “Sovietization” of Latvian society.

Guatemalans overthrow a dictator, 1944

Latin American Democracy Campaigns (1944)

Beginning in 1931 Jorge Ubico ruled Guatemala with an iron fist with the help of the vicious secret police. He admired Hitler’s tactics. By the summer of 1944, a similarly brutal dictator, Maximiliano Hernández Martínez, was overthrown in the face of a widespread nonviolent campaign in nearby El Salvador. This campaign served as a template for Guatemala’s own movement.

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