The Wall Street Journal | 12/7/2009 12:00:00 AM
Uribe's Constitutional Challenge
Dec 7--The difference between a modern republic of self-governance and the ersatz "democracy" of many underdeveloped countries is that the former is ruled by institutions, the latter by men.
In a republic, institutional order is bound by a rule of law designed to protect the rights of individuals against each other and against the power of the state. Property rights, civil liberties and human progress all fare better when state actors, even those who are wildly popular, are constrained by institutional checks and balances.
For most of the past seven years Colombia has seemed to be inching ever closer to this higher ideal. Many aspects of daily life here have improved immensely since Mr. Uribe took office in August 2002. The rebirth of personal security and the professionalism of the military that is largely responsible for it are both products of Mr. Uribe's leadership.
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