ses19_law1 - 17.55, Introduction to Latin American Studies,...

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17.55, Introduction to Latin American Studies, Fall 2006 Prof. Chappell Lawson Session 19: The Rule of Law in Latin America: “Guilty Until Proven Rich” The rule of law was something we discussed when we went over definitions of democracy Clearly lacking in lots of areas (e.g., Colombia, Brazil, etc.) Recently been a subject of tremendous debate Brazilian case, Guillermo O’Donnell o In writing about democracy, assumed the existence of a functioning state o Goal was to change the way that state acted o Democratization often had the perverse effect of destroying state institutions (e.g., military withdrawal from policing) o Result was lack of any state, democratic or non-democratic o Does it matter if the federal government is a democracy if the police won’t even go into certain neighborhoods? o Huntington in 1968 – form of government vs. degree of government o Issue seems to be rule of law – extent to which laws are enforced What do we mean by rule of law? Civil rights o Protection from arbitrary power of the State (that is, gov’t officials) o Freedom from repression and politically-motivated harassment o Freedom of speech, expression, association, etc. Independent judiciary, checks on executive rule o Similar to civil rights, but has to do with how executive behaves in relation to other branches of government o Horizontal accountability o In Brazil, for instance, party system is highly fragmented; president can’t get most laws passed; has had to resort to a series of presidential decrees that have the force of law; in the 1990s, this was the primary method of law- making in Brazil o In Ecuador, legislature refused to approve a series of economic reforms proposed by President Febres Cordero in the late 1980s; protests and disruptions, culminating in Febres Cordero’s decision to tear gas Congress o President Alberto Fujimori in Peru in the early 1990s wanted to be reelected for an unprecedented third term. There was only one little problem – the Constitution, which said that a president could only serve two terms. (He had already amended the Constitution to serve a second term.) Fujimori wanted
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This note was uploaded on 11/09/2011 for the course ARCH 4.401 taught by Professor Utemetabauer during the Fall '06 term at MIT.

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ses19_law1 - 17.55, Introduction to Latin American Studies,...

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