Glossary: coronelismo

Derives from the honorary title of colonel (coronel; pl., coroneis) in the National Guard that was customarily conferred on a locally dominant political boss, usually a substantial landowner or local justice of the peace. The term eventually became applied to local strongmen or political bosses, especially in rural areas and particularly in poorer Northeastern states. Coronelismo thus was a classic boss system under which control of patronage and minor funds was centralized in the coronel, who would dispense favors in return for political loyalty.

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