Populist Constitutionalism in Latin America: The Cases of Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela

With Angelica Bernal, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and Martin Mendoza Botelho, Eastern Connecticut State University.

In this project we explore the notion of populist constitutionalism, by looking at the cases of Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela in comparative perspective. This is a form of constitutional politics in which the creation and implementation of new constitutional rights is subject to populist executive leadership, in light of the president's popularity and overwhelming control of the country's institutions. Hence, other things equal, the bottom-up demands that generated these rights end up confronting state-building agendas designed and carried out from the top, which constraints the transformative potential of these constitutional provisions.