Short Reflection on the Color of the Venezuelan Election: Black, Indigenous, & Gray

by HUE

by Jamila Aisha Brown

“Nada es tan peligroso como dejar permanecer largo tiempo a un mismo ciudadano en el poder ” — Simon Bolivar, 1819

Those in favor and opposed to Chavez’s regime seem to be split along racial and socio-economic lines.  Venezuelans that are Black and/or Indigenous have largely benefited from his policies along with lower-income and poor citizens.

I think we also have to examine who has (internet) access to speak out to a global audience about Venezuela and its policies and how voices of Venezolan@s of color aren’t heard by Western audiences.

I’m not Venezuelan, but as a person of Panamanian descent I’m wary of those using U.S. economic and political models to discredit Venezuela. But I’m also not a Chavista and think he should be held to task regarding his control of the court system and his consolidation of power (something Simon Bolivar warned against).

I will say though that I hope Venezuela is allowed to self-determine its own future without interference. and viewing this as a political scientist, I believe the closeness of the election and the opposition gaining nearly half of the National Assembly seats in 2010 show that Venezuela is moving in a direction where Chavez and his party won’t have complete control.

Again, I’m not Venezuelan and I can’t speak to this from a personal perspective. but as an Afro-Latina whose experienced U.S. imperialism I think this deserves to be viewed with a more critical lens.

Author’s Note: To greater understand the influence of the United States in Latin American politics I recommend seeing the documentary Harvest of the Empire 

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