The Open Veins of Venezuela
Historically, Venezuela has been an ATM machine for U.S. corporations. Located on the northern coast of South America with a population of 32 million, Venezuela is rich in natural resources: diamonds, bauxite, gold, iron ore, natural gas and oil, especially oil. The election of Hugo Chavez in 1998 heralded in what he called the Bolivarian Revolution. It was a challenge to U.S. hegemony. After his death in 2013 he was succeeded by Nicolas Maduro who stood for election in that same year and won. Maduro was reelected in 2018. The economy is in crisis. There is runaway inflation. Supermarket shelves are empty. Many people have left for neighboring countries. The economy is being crippled by sanctions imposed by the U.S., Canada, and other countries. Ordinary Venezuelans are suffering. Washington is leading the charge for regime change in Venezuela.
Steve Ellner has taught economic history and political science at the Universidad de Oriente in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela for many years. His articles have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, In TheseTimes, The New York Times and other newspapers and journals. He is the author of Rethinking Venezuelan Politics: Class Conflict & the Chavez Phenomenon and Latin America’s Radical Left.
Ellner’s presentation gave me some useful background to consider in the face of all the uninformed media noise; afterall, it’s not fair to support Moduro just because Bolsonaro and John Bolton don’t.
Time to seek out Steve Ellner’s books at our Toronto Public Library, while we still have it.
Erin in Idledale, CO –
I didn’t know Steve Ellner, but I always enjoy hearing informed perspectives on Venezuela since we get so little reliable information from the U.S. media on this front. One of his strongest points is in talking about how the U.S. media always conflates economic growth (capitalism) with democracy, and how the U,S. govt. and media use Venezuela’s economic crisis as a lever to insert the huge lie that country’s leaders have not been elected democratically. In my experience, most people who don’t know better and get their info from the U.S media really think Venezuela is a dictatorship. Ellner does a good job at dispelling that myth by describing elections and separating the economic from the political. That’s super important.