Venezuela amended its constitution this year to abolish the two-term limit on presidents, provoking widespread criticism that Hugo Chavez was trying to make himself a Castro-like president-for-life.
When President Zelaya of Honduras tried to hold a nonbinding referendum to hold a national assembly just to consider abolishing term limits (among other constitutional changes), he was booted out of the country. (Even though, given his low personal popularity at the time, and the scheduling factors involved, there was practically no chance such a change could perpetuate him in office, or that he would even be a candidate for the next term.) The constitutional crisis remains unresolved. The U.S. has now definitely come down on Zelaya’s side, but American conservatives are screaming that we’re backing the wrong horse, Zelaya being an ally of Chavez and all.
Now, in Colombia (a key U.S. ally in the region, and, together with Mexico (and Honduras, for the moment), almost the only country in Latin America that does not now have a left-wing or center-left government), Congress just approved a referendum to abolish presidential term limits. If it passes, incumbent President Alvaro Uribe would be able to run for a third term in the May 2010 elections.
So – is it OK if a RW does it? One could make a case, I suppose, that Colombia is a special case WRT need for stability and continuous leadership, as it has been in a continuous state of civil war for years and the FARC still controls parts of the country. But why must such leadership be vested in one man?