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CODE 104919
SEMESTER 2° Semester


The lectures aim to offer, in a comparative perspective, a suitable knowledge of the main elements of constitutional law of the Latin-American countries, and they pay specific attention to: 1) political regimes and their historical evolution; 2) local autonomies and center-periphery relations; 3) systems of government; 4) constitutional guarantees; 5) regulations and guarantee of human rights, paying specific attention to the "new rights" typical of many recent constitutional charters.



The aim of the Latin American Constitutional Law course is to provide students with the specific skills and tools for a critical understanding of the organisation of public powers and the principles that regulate the rights and guarantees of the individual in Latin American countries, as well as the organisational and regulatory order of these countries and their constitutional justice systems. From this perspective, the Latin American political systems will also be analysed, as essential elements for explaining the specific working of the institutions. The course as a whole, taught in a comparative manner, aims to provide students with the tools to better understand the peculiarities of Latin American constitutionalism and the working of its institutions.



The lectures aim to:

Deepen the knowledge of the historical development of Latin American political regimes and systems of government, also in the light of the recent changes caused by both the democratization processes and the regional integration ones;

Deepen the knowledge of both juridical principles and fundamental institutions of liberal-democracy, their different implementations and the problems they face in their implementation in socio-economical realities different from those of Europe and Northern America;

Approach to the knowledge of both the political and party systems conditioning the working of Latin American constitutional regimes, especially in the relations between Legislative and Executive power;

Understand the mechanisms of guarantee of the Constitution and their working, especially the role played by the bodies in charge of the constitutional review;

Deepen the rules and principles about rights and duties present in the constitutional texts and the juridical mechanisms for their guarantee.

LEARNING OUTCOMES (in more detail):

After the lectures, the student should be able to:

Know and use accurately Spanish legal and constitutional language;

Develop skills of complementing each other the juridical, politicological and historical approach in the study of the items in question, in order to develop a good ability of critical and multidimensional analysis;

Understand and retrace socio-political and cultural conditions which influenced birth and development of the Latin-American constitutional regimes;

Discern the different political regimes and systems of government in Latin America and describe their working, also employing, where needed, extra-juridical scientific concepts (socio-politicological, anthropological, philosophical, etc.);

Apply accurately comparative methodology in both the analysis and the critical evaluation of juridical institutions and political structures in the countries that are subject of the lectures;

Retrace, explain and evaluate critically the real working of Latin-American constitutional systems, through critical analysis of constitutional (or constitutionally relevant) texts, documents and customs, as well as of every other historical and factual significant element (political and party systems, political culture, etc.); 

Express thoroughly knowledge, opinions, problems and proposals, related to the discipline, to both expert speakers and not.


To deal effectively with the contents of the discipline, it's necessary to know the basic foundations of constitutional and public law and political science, as well as political thought, contemporary political and institutional history and political and economical geography of Latin America. 

It's so highly touted to have already passed or to study simultaneously for exams concerning the above-mentioned subjects.

Lastly, an adequate knowledge of Spanish language is needed, for the lectures are going to be given in Spanish. 


The course is 36 hours long and gives 6 CFUs. It will be given in Spanish.

Lectures will be taught by blended teaching (i.e. teaching in presence with contemporary broadcasting of the lecture through TEAMS platform). Nevertheless, in case of new negative evolution of the present health crisis, lectures could also be completely online, through TEAMS as well. In every case, AulaWeb platform is going to be used to support educational purposes.

Lectures in presence are going to be taught in the "Albergo dei Poveri" educational centre and will start on Monday, October 24th, 2022. The scheduled time is the following: three lectures a week - on Mondays, from 16:00 to 18:00, room 6; - on Thursdays, from 08:00 to 10:00, room 19; and - on Fridays, from 16:00 to 18:00, room 7.

Independently from their being either the only form of teaching or a part of blended teaching, lectures in streaming are going to be taught through TEAMS platform, on the team "Prof Aristide Canepa 2021/22" (password qmp6b5p ), channel Derecho Constitucional Latinoamericano. The teacher will either record the lectures or not, according to the form of teaching that will be finally imposed by the circumstances. In every case, the teacher is going to upload the possible recordings and the teaching materials to AulaWeb platform, on the channel devoted to the course, in order to guarantee the availability of the course also to students who, for any reason, weren't able to take part in class lectures nor to log on the lectures in streaming.

The professor will mainly teach lectures, but teaching activities can also consist of the analysis of legislative, administrative and jurisprudence texts, as well as seminars and students' guided research activities, involving public exposition of the outcomes. Lectures will be taught in Spanish and can possibly be complemented by slides. External lectures, speeches and congresses related to the discipline could be considered as part of the course. In this case, the professor will inform the students about them, during the lectures and through AulaWeb.

Without prejudice to the importance of the readings suggested below (at the item Recommended Reading/Bibliography), the professor could in advance look after providing or recommending (either during the lectures or through Aulaweb) further readings and studies, useful to the preparation of the following lectures.

For such reasons, students are heartily recommended to register themselves in the course page on AulaWeb platform. Such a page is going to be the official channel of communication between teacher and students, and all the informations on the course (including possible changes in the way the course will be taught) will be uploaded there.

The teacher is also the Department contact person for students with handicaps and/or learning disorders. Students in a certificated condition of handicap or learning disorder are warmly encouraged to contact him, at the beginning of the course, in order to agree teaching and exam methods that, still respecting the course aims, take into account the individual learning needs and offer adequate compensatory instruments.


Historical introduction:

a) The institutions of Latin-American colonies before the independence; b) The decolonization process in Latin America, the cultural roots of secessionist leaders' constitutional thought (especially Bolívar), the federalization attempts, the political regimes and systems of government finally realized; c) Latin-American constitutional evolution during 19th and 20th century, between liberal State, oligarchical power and military coups; d) The democratic attempts of the 20th century, the socialist, third-worldist and populist influences, the authoritarian reactions in the Seventies and the following resurgence of democracy.

Contemporary Latin-American constitutional systems:

Liberal-democracy and its social grounds; the predominance of the presidential model as system of government and the attempts of inserting parliamentary elements; the limited separation of powers in favour of the Presidents and the attempts of re-balancing by the Parliaments; electoral systems, party systems and the attempts to enlarge democratic participation; the regulations of rights and the increase of the guarantee procedures; constitutional guarantees and the role of constitutional Courts; features of federalism, where existing, and processes of regional integration (Mercosur, SICA, Central-American Parliament, etc.)

The socialist regime in Cuban experience.

The authoritarian and populist drifts: Peru under Fujimori and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.


A sufficiently recent syllabus about the items to deal with in the course doesn’t exist. For such a reason, it's highly recommended to attend the teaching activities, in order to take notes and to get the additional readings the professor will suggest from time to time. In addition to all that and to the materials the professor will provide through AulaWeb, the following volumes are recommended:

- PORTILLO VALDÉS José M., Historia mínima del constitucionalismo en América Latina, Colégio de México, Ciudad de México, 2016; and

- ANDREWS Catherine (coord.), Un siglo de constitucionalismo en América Latina (1917-2017), tomo I, CIDE, Ciudad de México, 2017 (only five countries to be freely chosen by the student among them in part I (Las trayectorias nacionales)).

Both the books can easily be either downloaded in electronic format or purchased in paperbacks format, at least on their publishers' websites: and .

The above-mentioned volumes are recommended as reference texts, but the students are also allowed to use other university texts about Latin-American constitutional law, provided that such texts encompass the whole specified programme and have been published in the last 5 years.

During the course, other readings could be pointed out for people interested in deepening the items in question.


Exam Board


ARISTIDE CANEPA (President Substitute)


MASSIMO RUARO (Substitute)



Teaching activities will occur during the first term, in the above-mentioned form.

Lectures will start on Monday, October 24th, 2022.

Scheduled time: three lectures a week, at the in the "Albergo dei Poveri" educational centre

- on Mondays, from 16:00 to 18:00, room 6;

- on Thursdays, from 08:00 to 10:00, room 19;

- on Fridays, from 16:00 to 18:00, room 7.

Class schedule

L'orario di tutti gli insegnamenti è consultabile all'indirizzo EasyAcademy.



The exam will be oral and preferably in Spanish but, upon justified request, it could be written and/or in Italian.

Students of Erasmus programme (or other similar programmes scheduling only a temporary stay) are allowed, on request, to sit the exam, instead of Spanish, in other languages (English, French, Italian and Portuguese are available).

During the exam, at least three items related to the discipline will be debated, starting from more general concepts to reach then an higher degree of detail. In case of written exam, it will consist in three open questions at different degrees of detail. 

The examination board is appointed by the Department Council and, except in the case of hindrance, chaired by the professor in charge of the course.

The exams will be in person, except for a worsening of the present health emergency. The University will promptly communicate its decisions on the subject.


First of all, the student should demonstrate: the knowledge of the course topics, an accurate use of the language, a suitable order in the presentation of the subjects, competence in the technical language, juridical, politicological and historical.

A preferential evaluation will be conferred to the following skills: the ability to re-elaborate in a critical way the acquired information and the concerned topics; the accurate implementation of the comparative methodology; the ability to analyse critically constitutional (or constitutionally relevant) texts, documents and customs, as well as every other historical and factual element (political and party systems, political culture, etc.) significant in the real working of a Latin American constitutional system; the possible expression of personal considerations, duly reasoned and justified, according to the acquired data and comparative methodology.

Exam schedule

Data Ora Luogo Degree type Note
17/01/2023 10:00 GENOVA Orale In linea di principio l'esame si svolgerà in presenza, presso l'Albergo dei Poveri. Per gravi esigenze motivate, però, lo studente potrà chiedere di svolgere l’esame on-line. In tal caso, questo si svolgerà sul gruppo TEAMS “Esami Dispo a.a. 2021/22”, il cui codice d’accesso è hxif4cu Una volta entrati nel gruppo, troverete numerose stanze virtuali corrispondenti ai diversi corsi: dovrete selezionare quella intitolata 57053 - DIRITTO PUBBLICO COMPARATO, dove troverete la commissione. Per evitare troppi passaggi, si svolgeranno sullo stesso canale anche gli esami degli altri corsi del prof. Canepa. Verrete esaminati uno alla volta, ma gli altri (o almeno uno di loro) dovranno rimanere collegati come testimoni. L’esaminando dovrà identificarsi mostrando sullo schermo il proprio tesserino universitario, oppure un documento personale con fotografia. Dovrà inoltre tenere accesa la videocamera e il microfono, mentre gli altri studenti in linea sono pregati, pur restando connessi per testimoniare, di spegnere microfono e videocamera, per evitare rumore e sovraccarico del sistema informatico. Chi volesse intervenire, per ragioni importanti, può riaccendere il microfono tra un esame e l’altro o scrivere sulla chat del gruppo. Naturalmente, durante l’esame non potrete tenere con voi ausili di nessun genere (testi, cellulari, tablet, ecc.), né ricevere assistenza o suggerimenti da terze persone, conformemente al patto d'aula che ciascuno di voi ha firmato. Si ricorda che chi fosse colto ad utilizzare sussidi proibiti e/o ricevere suggerimenti esterni, non solo violerebbe il Regolamento in materia di procedimento disciplinare nei confronti degli studenti, rendendosi così passibile di procedimento disciplinare da parte delle autorità universitarie, ma, avendo dichiarato il falso nel patto d’aula, che costituisce a tutti gli effetti una dichiarazione sostitutiva di atto notorio, compirebbe anche un reato. Eventuali studenti disabili o con DSA, che avessero pertanto diritto ad utilizzare determinati ausili, sono pregati di contattare in anticipo il docente. In particolare, chi avesse titolo ad utilizzare mappe concettuali è pregato di inviarle in visione al docente con almeno dieci giorni di anticipo sull’esame, perché questi possa valutare se vanno bene o meno. Ugualmente, chi avesse insuperabili difficoltà di collegamento telematico è pregato di contattare il docente via mail per concordare un rinvio dell’esame. Si ricorda infine che è vietato registrare l’esame. Il docente resta a disposizione per qualsiasi chiarimento
07/02/2023 10:00 GENOVA Orale ATTENZIONE: Per un errore. il sistema aveva riportato una nota relativa ad un appello dell'anno scorso. CONFERMO CHE L'ESAME SI TERRA' MARTEDI' 7 FEBBRAIO, IN PRESENZA
07/06/2023 10:00 GENOVA Orale
27/06/2023 10:00 GENOVA Orale
18/07/2023 10:00 GENOVA Orale
07/09/2023 10:00 GENOVA Orale


Channel for online lectures (if needed): team "Prof Aristide Canepa 2022/23" (password wbc8q2x ), channel Derecho Constitucional Latinoamericano.