Opinion

Commentary: Uribe, Colombia offer lesson in democracy

At a time when good government is under assault in nearby countries, Colombia has offered strong proof of its fealty to democracy and respect for the rule of law.

The Colombian Constitutional Court's decision shutting the door on a referendum that would have allowed President Alvaro Uribe to run for a third term won't go down well with everyone, given that the president is hugely popular for crippling a leftist insurgency. Yet it was undoubtedly the right decision, and Mr. Uribe and his followers have bowed to the will of the court.

That's the way it's supposed to work in a democracy, but it often doesn't. Witness events in Venezuela, where Hugo Chávez has used his authority as president to undermine the courts, stack the legislature with slavish followers and intimidate all forms of opposition in a drive to become president for life.

In accepting the Court's decision, President Uribe said he had only one wish: "To be able to serve Colombia from whatever trench, under whatever circumstance, until the last day of my life."

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