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InsiderOnline Blog: October 2008

Nature Achieves Personhood

In non-financial-perfect-storm news, Ecuador went the wrong way over the weekend with its new constitution, reports Thomas Szyszkiewicz:

... the entire document is full of socialistic doctrine. President Rafael Correa can now remain in office until 2017, dissolve Congress at will, and has taken over control of the country’s monetary policy from the central bank. According to the Financial Times, he can also grab and redistribute idle farmland, appoint controlling majorities in the supreme, constitutional, and electoral courts and he has exclusive authority over the budget. Plus the document bans big landholdings, allows for popular referenda without the authorization of the congress, and raises mandatory spending on health, education, and social security.

The country’s Catholic bishops vocally opposed the new document on three grounds – that through the ambiguous language of “reproductive rights” it would allow for abortion, that it allows for same-sex civil unions to have the same status as marriage, and that it doesn’t allow parents the freedom to choose the schooling they think best fits their own children’s needs. That last objection translates into the constitution requiring children to attend state-run schools.

But perhaps the most notable feature of Ecuador’s new constitution is that it gives nature the same rights as human beings. The constitution states:

Persons and people have the fundamental rights guaranteed in this Constitution and in the international human rights instruments. Nature is subject to those rights given by this Constitution and Law.

As a result of the new constitution, any Ecuadorian can now represent nature in a court of law to challenge drilling or exploration for oil in environmentally sensitive areas. That’s not good for Ecuador’s economy, and it won’t help lower the price of oil, either.

Posted on 10/02/08 04:55 PM by Alex Adrianson

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