“Bolivia is being refounded” said President Evo Morales, as his country went to the polls today to vote on proposed constitutional amendments that would extend his term. The amendments, which are expected to pass by a solid margin, are hardly exceptional in Bolivia (or in Latin America), where constitutions have been frequently amended or replaced.
The fact that power-hungry leaders are seeking to use constitutional mechanisms for extending their terms is a sign of progress in some sense, and beats the alternative of replacing the constitution outright. Bolivia had at least nine distinct constitutions in the 19th century and four or five in the 20th. If Morales has his way, they may be down to one or two for the 21st.
In neighboring Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez’ referendum to end restrictions on the number of terms he may serve will go to the polls in just under three weeks. Bolivarian, indeed!
Watch for updates on the Venezuelan situation here.