For readers who seek to understand the historical, economical and sociological contexts that gave rise to a 38 year-old mestizo-mulato Lieutenant Colonel who stormed the presidential palace in a bloody coup d’état in 1992, subsequently returned to the same palace in 1998, but this time, as a democratically elected President, and has been in power since, this book is the right place to start. In spite of opposition attempts to oust President Hugo Chávez and his political machinery from power, this ‘socialism of the twenty-first century’ hegemonic project has succeeded in creating an institutional structure designed to improve the lives of the previously excluded population. An in-depth fieldwork study of a Cuban healthcare programme named Barrio Adentro (deep in the slums) in Venezuela’s poor and rural areas, and the nonviolence Manos Blancas (white hands) opposition student movement - provides a descriptive and analytical account of people’s problems from both sides in a deeply polarised society. The concluding chapter of this book examines Chávez’s intention to stay in power until 2031.
An original resource for scholars, students and general readers; this book not only furthers our understanding populism in Venezuela but also provides a sound method to analyse populist practices in other contexts.
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