Constitution Making and the New Latin American Constitutionalism

The New Latin American Constitutionalism (NLAC) claims that the constitution making processes of Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia were significantly influenced by the revival of the classical revolutionary theory of the constituent power that took place in Colombia in the early 1990s. This article rejects the NLAC's defense of the revolutionary model by challenging their inadequate interpretation of the Colombian process. The Colombian experience should be understood as a mixed process in which the logic of the revolutionary constituent power was softened, first, by a dynamic of compromise and negotiation between a plurality of actors that, second, tried to rely on the principle of legality to engineer a more democratic constitution making process. This has been ignored by the theorists of the NLAC. However, these characteristics were of fundamental importance to avoid the forms of abusive constitutionalism that later emerged in the region, especially in Venezuela and Ecuador.