In the past few years, the question of term limits in Latin America has been all the rage. The AP just published a story about it. Only at the end of the article, however, is it noted that most countries are not even discussing term limits.
Here is a list I put together quickly:
Bolivia – one term extended to two
Ecuador – still two terms, but can now be consecutive
Nicaragua – no term limits through Supreme Court, though contested
Venezuela – no term limits through national referendum
Brazil – Lula has categorically said no to extending term limits
Chile – terms were shortened from 6 to 4 years with 2005 constitutional reforms
Honduras – became the major theme for opposition to Mel Zelaya
Being actively debated:
Colombia – allowing a third term will be decided in coming months
Should this be considered a trend? Clearly, allowing an unlimited number of terms is not taking off. Ecuador and Bolivia are often noted, though they only allow for two, which is hardly unusual. A majority of countries have done nothing and likely will not in the future either.
On the other hand, the very issue is being debated more now than in recent years, to the point that Lula actually brought up the fact that he wasn't interested. I wonder, though, whether very high profile cases like Venezuela and Honduras, where the debate over term limits (fairly or not) has been front and center, makes the issue seem more relevant across Latin America than it really is.