The Central American Right to Rebel: why it served the 1982 Revolutionary Junta in Guatemala but could not save Zelaya:
The first de facto right to resist in the Central American region was introduced by El Salvador in its constitution of 1886.(1) This right was subsequently expanded upon in 1945, and reached its present form in 1950.(2) Since that time many neighboring countries such as Honduras and Guatemala have likewise adopted similar provisions as have culturally similar Caribbean nations such as Cuba and Venezuela.
In Ecuador, Autocracy by Referendum
A frustrated Simon Bolivar is said to have once complained of his empire that Colombia was a university, Venezuela a barracks, and Ecuador a convent. This assessment seemed surprisingly prescient last week, with a Colombian education minister appointed emergency mayor of Bogota, Venezuela accused by the IISS of arming FARC rebels, and Ecuadorians passing a ten-question constitutional referendum which, among other things, set up a “Regulatory Council” to prohibit “violent, sexual, or discriminating” content in the printed news, radio, and television.
Amending the Unamendable Constitutional Clauses in Honduras?
The Honduran congress has passed, by the required supermajority, a reform to constitutional Article 5 that refers to the requisites to call for a plebiscite or a referendum as well as to the scope of issues that can be decided using those mechanisms of direct democracy.
The Church and Constitutional Fidelity
Nearly a month ago, the Wall Street Journal carried an interesting story on the role of the Catholic Church in the Honduran constitutional crisis. The Church, as it turns out, supported the coup (a highly contested word in this context, I know) for which they received a fair amount of criticism from Zelayistas.
Honduras vote coming in…
and it looks like the conservatives have won. The crisis, however, is likely not over, with most South American nations continuing to assert that the election results are not to be recognized. From the beginning, the Honduras affair has defied conventional political analysis.
The Honduran Crisis as Constitutional Inoculation?
It may be time to turn to some of the broader implications of the Honduran constitutional crisis now that a resolution to at least the immediate standoff is in sight. In particular, what will be the fate of the Honduran constitution?
Honduras crisis comes to a close
Honduras’ political crisis is coming to an end. Five months after being forced out of the country by the military, Manuel Zelaya will apparently be allowed to resume his term of office. The country’s election scheduled for later this month, in which Zelaya is not a candidate, will proceed as planned.
The Puzzle of Unamendable Provisions: Debate-Impairing Rules vs. Substantive Entrenchment
Many constitutions purport to make some provisions immune from ordinary amendment processes. The Constitution of Turkey, for example, states that the character of the country as a secular democracy and republic cannot be changed, and forbids any proposal to amend these provisions.
Of Coups and Term Limits: Thoughts on the Niger Referendum This Week
All eyes will be on Niger this Tuesday as President Mamadou Tandja goes ahead with a referendum to allow himself to rule for three more years after completing his constitutional mandate of two terms this December. Recall that when the Constitutional Court ruled his proposal unconstitutional earlier this summer, Tandja assumed emergency powers and disbanded parliament as well as the constitutional court.