89 Tex. L. Rev. 1587 (2010-2011)
The Recent Transformation of Constitutional Law in Latin America: Trends and Challenges

handle is hein.journals/tlr89 and id is 1605 raw text is: The Recent Transformation of Constitutional Law in
Latin America: Trends and Challenges
Rodrigo Uprimny*
Since the mid-1980s, Latin America has seen an intense period of
constitutional change, as almost all countries either adopted new
constitutions (Brazil in  1988,1 Colombia in     1991,2 Paraguay in    1992,3
Ecuador in 19984 and 2008,s Peru in 1993,6 Venezuela in 1999,7 and Bolivia
in 2009,8 among others) or introduced major reforms to their existing
constitutions (Argentina in 1994,9 Mexico in 1992,10 and Costa Rica in
198911). The new Brazilian constitution of 1988 can be viewed as the start-
ing point of this phase of reforms, which is still developing. Obviously there
are important national differences.       However, despite these national
differences, this wave of constitutional reforms in Latin America seems to
have some common features.
Despite the intensity of the recent constitutional changes in Latin
America, I know of no text that has tried to systematically examine the
common features of the development of constitutionalism in the region.
There are important reflections on the constitutional evolutions of some spe-
cific countries, such as the works of Boaventura de Sousa Santos on Ecuador
and Bolivia.12    Other studies examine some aspect of Latin American
* Executive Director, Center for the Study of Law, Justice and Society (DeJuSticia); Professor,
National University of Colombia. I thank Lina Santos and Vivian Newman, researchers at
DeJuSticia, for their enormous contribution in the translation of this Article.
1. CONSTITUli Ao FEDERAL [C.F.] [CONSTITUTION].
2. CONSTITUCION POLITICA DE COLOMBIA [C.P.] (Colom.).
3. CONSTITUCION DE LA REP(IBLICA DEL PARAGUAY [PARA. CONST.].
4. CONSTITUCI6N POLITICA DE LA REP(UBLICA DEL ECUADOR 1998 (superceded 2008).
5. CoNsTiTuci6N POLiTICA DE LA REP(UBLICA DEL ECUADOR [ECUADOR CONST.].
6. CONSTITUCI6N POLiTICA DEL ESTADO REP(BLICA DEL PERU [PERU CONST.].
7. CONsrTruci6N DE LA REPUJBLICA BOLIVARIANA DE VENEZUELA [VENEZ. CONST.].
8. CONSTITUci6N POLITICA DEL ESTADO DE BOLIVIA [BOL. CONST.].
9. CONSTITUCI6N NACIONAL [CONST. NAC.] (amended 1994).
10. Constituci6n Politica de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos [C.P.], as amended, Diario Oficial
de la Federaci6n [DO], 5 de Febrero de 1917 (Mex.); see Jose Luis Soberanes Fernandez, Mexico
and the 1981 United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of
Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief 2002 BYU L. REV. 435, 448-50 (discussing the 1992
amendments to the Mexican constitution).
11. CONsTITUcI6N POLiTICA DE LA REPIBLICA DE COSTA RICA [COSTA RICA CONST.]; see
also Bruce M. Wilson, Changing Dynamics: The Political Impact of Costa Rica's Constitutional
Court, in THE JUDICIALIZATION OF POLITICS IN LATIN AMERICA, 47, 49-50 (Rachel Sieder et al.
eds., 2005) (discussing the 1989 amendments to the Costa Rica constitution).
12. See, e.g., BOAVENTURA DE SOUSA SANTOS, REFUNDACI6N DEL ESTADO EN AMERICA
LATINA: PERSPECTIVAS DESDE UNA EPISTEMOLOGiA DEL SUR [REFOUNDING THE STATE IN LATIN
AMERICA: PERSPECTIVES FROM AN EPISTEMOLOGY OF THE SOUTH] 8-10 (2010) (analyzing the

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