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domingo, febrero 05, 2006

Washington Post: "Chavez Wins Hearts Among the Poor"

The Washington Post ran a feature article yesterday on what Venezuelans think about the changes under Chavez. I found the final quote particularly telling (and hopeful):

Some of Chavez's supporters stress the distinction between the desire of poor and working Venezuelans to determine their future and the will of its leader. Geomar Hernandez, 26, said he applauds Chavez but bristles at the name Chavista.

"I'm not a Chavista, I'm a Venezuelan," said Hernandez, a university student. "We have to believe in a nation. The leaders are circumstantial; their positions change."

The article is "Venezuela's Chavez Wins Hearts Among the Poor".

Oil Wars has some interesting commentary about this article too.

Something that has started to frustrate me is nicely reflected by Hernandez at the end of his comment. It is very difficult to find honest opinions of what it is really like to live in Venezuela at the moment. I met a group of British people in London recently handing out pro-Chavez leaflets and shouting pro-revolutionary slogans, and I went to have a chat. Sure enough, they had their speeches down pat, but when I said to them "have you actually spent time living in Venezuela?" they went strangely silent. And that set me thinking - I can read plently of pro Chavez material written by Europeans based in Europe, and many pages of anti-Chavez material written by people, often Venezuelan or Cuban, who no longer live in their country of birth. I cannot believe that it is so difficult to find the views of Venezuelans, no matter what their political leaning, who are actually living the situation.

thanks for reading,
Hello Mike,

If you read Spanish, I would suggest looking at http://www.el23.net/. This is a site run by the residents of El 23 de Enero, a poor but organized & active barrio in Caracas.

You might also want to check out http://www.veneblogs.com/, a directory of Venezuela blogs, most in Spanish but some in English or other languages. It's heavily weighted towards the opposition (after all, who has the resources to make a blog?), but includes blogs with other perspectives too.
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