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domingo, julio 10, 2005

"Venezuela: Participatory Democracy or Government as Usual?"

In "Venezuela: Participatory Democracy or Government as Usual?", Greg Wilpert breaks down the past phases and future challenges of the Chavez government and puts it in the context of Venezuela's economic and political developments over the past several decades, all in the shadow of oil. A must read.

Venezuela is a complex country that tends to confound the casual observer. As a result, everyone, especially the media and those who want to support and those who want to oppose the current government, tend to oversimplify the situation. It is all too easy, especially because of Hugo Chavez's military background, to portray his government as just another instance of Latin American caudillismo. It is not much of a stretch to add, considering his discourse and his friendship with Fidel Castro, that he is moving the country towards authoritarian (or even totalitarian) "Castro-communism." On the other hand, outside observers of the left (if they haven't already bought into the opposition argument, which some have) easily fall into the oversimplification that Chavez represents the downtrodden, the "wretched of the earth," and a solid victory of the poor in their perpetual battle against the world's rich. Both views must be qualified, however, if we want to make sense of what is happening in Venezuela today.

Full article here.

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