GUATEMALA: Ersatz Constitution

Article 77 of Guatemala's new constitution (TIME, Jan. 16) guarantees civil rights "except in the case of activities against the security of the state, perturbation of the peace, public calamity or invasion." Under such troubled conditions, states the article, a special "Law of Public Order" can be invoked, to replace the constitution during the emergency. Last week the slow-moving Constituent Assembly put the finishing touches on the new public-order law—though only over a storm of objections from opposition Assemblymen and the independent press.

The new law classified emergencies under five loose-fitting categories, running the crisis gamut from...

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