Category: Democracy and 21st Century Socialism

Bilingual: Elections and Political Power: Challenges for the Opposition

Next month’s elections will be an important benchmark in Venezuelan politics. On November 23, voters will go to the polls to elect 22 state governors and 355 mayors in as many municipalities, as well as choose the mayor of Caracas. The elections are taking place in a political environment influenced by the abrupt proclamation of 26 laws on July 31, the last day of President Chávez’s 18-month powers to issue emergency decrees …

Bilingual: The Social Policy of the Bolivarian Revolution: Mission Tricks

When presidential candidate Hugo Chávez won the elections in December 1998, a wave of optimism and hope swept through Venezuela, especially among its poor majority. Chávez’s triumph represented a fundamental change in the political life of one of the oldest democracies in Latin America. Chávez promised change and solutions for the country’s pressing problems, especially those related to poverty and inequality, …

Bilingual: Between Militarization and Compassion: Disaster Victims’ Assistance Policies After the Tragedy

The front page of the Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional on December 6, 2000, showed the picture of a woman standing in front of an open, empty refrigerator, her back turned to the readers. The caption explained that the refrigerator belonged to displaced victims or “damnificados” of the December 1999 natural catastrophe known as “the Tragedy.” Massive floods and landslides had wracked the Venezuelan coast and the …

Bilingual: The Politics of Identity: Bolívar and Beyond

English + EspañolEaster Sunday, the last day of Holy Week, fills Venezuela’s Catholic churches with religious fervor, and the beaches and recreation spots with exuberant Dionysian paganism. On the Day of Resurrection Venezuela, like the rest of Latin America, celebrates the holiday as a day of rejoicing in which the central act is the “burning” of the effigy of Judas. Residents of poor working-class communities, the “barrios,” create life-size grotesque …

Bilingual: After the Referendum: Reading the Defeat

English + EspañolOn December 2, 2007, Venezuela voters rejected President Hugo Chávez’s proposed constitutional reform. That reform, broadened by the National Assembly to encompass a total of 69 articles, would have led Venezuelan society at an accelerated pace towards “socialism of the 21st century.” With 94% of the results reported, the National Electoral Council’s second bulletin announced that slightly more than half …

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