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