Democracy Undermined: Constitutional Subterfuge in Latin America
Dissent , Volume 57 - Issue 3 p. 43054
Although democracy is being questioned and even battered throughout Latin America, what is happening in Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia is qualitatively different. It is more than a "ratcheting up" of the assault on democracy; it is a deliberate, well-designed project to deconstruct democracy and substitute something else in its place, poorly defined as that may be. What is new here—and completely unanticipated by the legions of academics who wrote in the 1980s and 1990s about the "transition" to democracy—is the use of democracy to dismantle democracy. These projects pose a political and moral dilemma: how do you oppose political change that has been approved by a majority, sanctified by elections? Especially in poor countries with marked income and wealth disparities, which frequently overlap with race, how do you in good faith oppose the political projects of those who not only speak in the name of the oppressed, but who have the electoral support of the oppressed?