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Trump’s emergency declaration + what it means for US democracy over the medium to long term has echoes in my research on Colombian politics in the 20th century 1/
Under Colombia’s 1886 constitution (in place until 1991), the president could declare a state of siege “in cases of foreign war, or internal upheaval.” This gave him authority to suspend existing legislation, issue extraordinary decrees 2/
The state of siege was invoked several times between 1886 + the 1940s, often on a regional basis. The key moment came in July 1944, a group of military officers + Conservative Party collaborators kidnapped President Alfonso López. The govt declared a nationwide state of siege 3/
The coup attempt fizzled within hours. But the Liberal Party government extended the state of siege for 3 months, which allowed it to address the legislative issues that had been the subject of extraordinary decrees 4/
This precedent had grave consequences for the state of Colombian democracy. A Conservative government used the state of siege as a political weapon in 1949, a move that ultimately kept democratic institutions closed for 8 years 5/
In total, as @RodrigoUprimny + other scholars have shown, Colombia’s normal constitutional order would be suspended for the equivalent of more than 30 years between 1949 + 1991. The press was frequently censored, Congress bypassed, civilians sent before military courts 6/
The generation of Liberal Party politicians who had relied on the state of siege in 1944 would come to see it as one of their greatest regrets. Here’s future president Alberto Lleras Camargo (from my book #ForgottenPeace). He was far from alone in this feeling 7/
So our current political + constitutional moment in the US fills me w/ concern. The Colombian Supreme Court was deferential to the executive branch on its use of the state of siege + questions of "nat'l security", as I fear the US Supreme Court will be now w/ Trump’s emergency 8/
For more about states of exception and Latin American democracy, check out the work of my brilliant colleague @jorgegj8. My new book will look at 1944, the state of siege, and the fate of Colombian democracy in greater detail too 9/*
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