Venezuela’s government under Hugo Chávez and his successor is usually represented in English-language media as a demagogic regime more concerned with enriching itself than with helping the working class and poor people who it claims to represent. Yet is this the whole story? Why have Venezuela’s working and lower classes voted for Chávez’s “Bolivarian revolution” again and again? What sorts of traditions of urban popular politics and mobilization influence their relationship with the state? Where did this remarkably effervescent civil society come from?
Find out the answers at a special guest lecture on Tuesday, March 1, at 3:30 p.m. in LeConte 101 by Dr. Alejandro Velasco, associate professor in New York University’s Gallatin School. Dr. Velasco, a historian and prominent analyst of Venezuelan politics in US and international media, will give a talk based on his new book, Barrio Rising: Urban Popular Politics and the Making of Modern Venezuela.
From the book jacket: Beginning in the late 1950s political leaders in Venezuela built what they celebrated as Latin America’s most stable democracy. But outside the staid halls of power, in the gritty barrios of a rapidly urbanizing country, another politics was rising—unruly, contentious, and clamoring for inclusion.
Based on years of archival and ethnographic research in Venezuela’s largest public housing community, Barrio Rising
delivers the first in-depth history of urban popular politics before the Bolivarian Revolution, providing crucial context for understanding the democracy that emerged during the presidency of Hugo Chávez.
Blending rich narrative accounts with incisive analyses of urban space, politics, and everyday life, Barrio Rising offers a sweeping reinterpretation of modern Venezuelan history as seen not by its leaders but by residents of one of the country’s most distinctive popular neighborhoods