Articles by: Kimberly Kohler and Joshua MacLeod

November 4, 2009

Constitutional reforms have been seen by their leftist advocates as necessary to create the conditions for a redistribution of economic and political power, mainly by increasing public control over natural resources and national economies, and by expanding access to basic services. At the same time, however, particularly in Central America, constitutional reform has become a tool used by economic elites to retain and consolidate their power. Conservative forces in Honduras and Guatemala, for example, are defending existing constitutionally guaranteed power, or pushing power consolidation through proposed constitutional amendments.