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Defying Dichotomies:  Hugo Chavez, the Bolivarian Revolution, and the Emergence of 21st Century Socialism

Defying Dichotomies: Hugo Chavez, the Bolivarian Revolution, and the Emergence of 21st Century Socialism

Hugo Chavez emerged in the 1990s as a response to the popular dissatisfaction with the prevailing political order. The political ascendency of the Chavistas became the latest incarnation of the cyclical nature of Venezuelan politics. Drawing upon historical and social memory, Chavez rocked the traditional establishment by mobilizing the marginalized and underrepresented elements of Venezuelan society. Upon coming to power in 1999 Chavez sought to fundamentally restructure Venezuela, seeking to imbue the polity with a greater degree of social justice, equity and concern for people over profits.

While similar wishes to counter capitalist elites and oligarchies had been common aims among the Left during the 20th century in Latin America, the Bolivarian Revolution redefined this struggle by refusing to adhere any recognizable ideological or political formula. The opponents of Hugo Chavez, both domestically and abroad did their utmost to counter his policies and bring about his downfall. The two main charges leveled against the Chavistas was that they were dangerous populists and socialists.

These two themes had traditional been the spectres haunting “normal” politics as interpreted by the West. This paper argues that while Chavez and his movement incorporated many of the elements of both populism and socialist thought, the nebulous nature of his political convictions defy easy definition. Specifically it is argued that any effort to ascribe the Bolivarian Revolution as firmly populist or socialists makes a grave over-simplification and fails to acknowledge that despite the rhetoric the anti-imperialism and anti-neoliberalism, Chavez and his supporters represent not a regression into a Cold War mentality, but rather a new reaction to the new incarnation of empire – neoliberalism.

The common themes of oligarchy, repression and domination are found throughout Latin America, yet Venezuelan history departs from other countries due to its long period of 'democratic' rule and its economic exceptionalism thanks to its vast hydrocarbon wealth. The same accusations of mismanagement, corruption, clientalism and inequality which were levied against the established political parties by the Chavistas, were the same charges which those very parties had originally sought to expose in the previous military-political order.

The founding leaders of the major parties such as the Democratic Action (AD) and Committee of Independent Political Electoral Organization (COPEI) which came to dominant politics during the second half of the 20th century, were the main agitators in the toppling the previous regime. These parties (or their predecessor organizations) orchestrated the October 18th coup in 1945 against the military dictatorship of Gomecistas (adherents of the former dictator Juan Vincente Gomez) represented by the Lopez and Medina governments.1 This short-lived period was followed by the 1948 coup re-establishing military rule in Venezuela, yet this trend was reversed again in 1958. In both the 1945 and 1958 coup, these actions were legitimized because they were efforts to break from an unjust and oppressive regime.

As this time period's historiography was primarily written by members of the these four major parties, anti-militarism was lauded and the leaders of the parties aggrandized. Interestingly Chavez also pointed to these legitimized coups as support for his own efforts to overthrow the corrupt contemporary political order.2 Specifically the Chavistas accused the post-1958 democracy of betraying national interests, corruption and neglect of the poor.

Chavez disapproved of the manner in which the post-1958 order had become entangled with the United States, specifically by continuing to allow American control over the oil sector as well pandering to the domestic oligarchical elite. This orientation towards the wealthy elite is seen in the trend beginning in1958 in which the positions of finance, development and planning ministers as well as the Central Bank presidency were typically reserved regardless of which party was in power for members of the business community.3 The alliance between the main parties and the country's business elite which controlled access to the petroleum sector, led to a period of stability in which the AD and COPEI both adopted similar outlooks.

The internal party politics during this period also saw the routine expulsion of the leftist wings and leaders of AD and COPEI in 1960, 1962, 1967, and 1973,4 with moderate leftist veins of AD and COPEI becoming victims of the undemocratic internal manoeuvrings of the party machine led by Betancourt and Caldera.5 Moreover the revolutionary left renounced violence and re-entered the political process,6 yet the Venezuelan left strayed from Marxist class analysis and ignored pro-left labour unions. Specifically beginning in the 1970s, the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) began ignoring class politics, opting to focus more on political reform and elections at the expense of social demands.7 This in turn led to the lack of any real political alternatives. The post-1958 era saw the main parties AD and COPEI come to dominate the political scene, with an effective two party system solidifying in Venezuela by 1973.8

Despite the AD-COPEI hegemony, there existed an element of progressive thinking in Venezuelan politics. Following the 1973 and the ensuing high oil prices, Venezuela benefited from its oil reserves as well as the loan boom of the 1970s. This boom saw the recycling of petrodollars in the form of development loans leading to a credit glut and enticing Latin American governments to take on massive debts. Venezuela followed suit, assuming it could service the debt with its oil revenues.9 The credit glut and increased oil revenues in turn allowed Carlos Andres Perez (1974-1979) to implement various social and economic programs. These were informed by notions of economic nationalism which lead to efforts to nationalize the oil industry, efforts at social justice as well as re-establishing relations with Cuba and engaging the Soviet bloc.10

Unsurprisingly these actions concerned the conservative elites in the country, yet this trend was soon reversed by the events of the 1980s. By the early 1980s oil prices were falling and in on Black Friday 1983 the credit bubble popped. The credit crunch combined with the fact that oil constituted 91% of national exports and over half of government revenue caused a massive crisis in Venezuela.11 In response the government of Luis Herrera Campins (1979-1984) drastically devalued the bolivar in attempts to counter slumping oil prices and to prevent the massive capital flight occurring in Venezuela and throughout Latin America.12 Campins sought to limit the scope of government in order by eliminating economic and production development safeguards, yet his tenure oversaw a doubling of the national debt due to the inability to pay down Venezuela's massive loans.13

The Venezuelan government and other Latin American countries found themselves with reduced incomes and saddled with massive debts. This situation led international organizations such as the IMF and World Bank seek to intervene in the region in order to maintain economic stability. These organizations were espousing the nascent ideology of neoliberalism which was in the ascendancy following the election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979 and Ronald Reagan in 1980. By offering rescue packages and loans to Venezuela and other countries, these organizations sought to rectify the economic crisis by forcing recipient countries to implement policies which drastically reduced government spending and opened domestic markets via privatization and trade liberalization.14

For Venezuela the 1980s were marred by ineffectual leadership under first the government of Campins and later Jamie Lusinchi (1984-1989). The failure of both governments to live up to their anti-elite campaign personas, as well as the lack of a coherent or effective policy to counter the crisis from either government led to a widespread sense of disillusionment and this era saw the emergence of the anti-globalization movement in Venezuela. This dissatisfaction is key to understanding the rise of Chavez because the Bolivarian movement capitalized from the failure of the regimes of the 1980s and 1990s which had touted neoliberalism as the solution to Venezuela's problems. Specifically the critical outlook among numerous AD and COPEI members and their disillusionment as a result of measures taken by their parties' leadership found expression in the radicalization, mobilizations and acute social confrontation after 1989 [...] this dynamic [...] is essential to understanding the emergence of Chavismo in the 1990s.15

By the 1990s the mantra of neoliberalism had become a global orthodoxy, permeating the entire political spectrum from the hardline doctrines of Thatcher and Reagan, to the third way politics of Clinton and Blair. The second Perez regime (1989-1993) and the Caldera government (1994-1999) wholeheartedly subscribed to the neoliberal paradigm with the former opting for the shock doctrine and latter a more gradual approach. Both leaders were;

inscribed within a transnational political project which, in alliance with powerful national sectors, is increasingly its offensive throughout the continent with a fetishistic discourse of the free market, individualist liberty, and competition, behind which is hiding the desire to recuperate and consolidate [...] the hegemony of a model of accumulation.16

Ironically it was Perez who was the most aggressive neoliberal president who during his mandate oversaw a swathe of privatizations, lifted price controls on food and fuel, raised transport costs and removed restrictions on foreign capital. Perez's actions dismantled much of the centralist infrastructure that he himself had implemented, and “indeed, the anti-neoliberalism of the Chavez government after 1998 was at first defined as a defence of many of the measures taken under Perez's first government and targeted for elimination by the neoliberals in the 1990s.”17

Perez's initiatives disproportionately affected the poor strata of society, and in response the inhabitants of the barrios came down from the hills and protested and looted shops.18 The government responded with violence in an effort to suppress the demonstrations, and it was this heavy-handed response that spurred Hugo Chavez's first appearance on the national political scene. Chavez cited the tradition of legitimizing coups (as seen with the actions of 1945 and 1958) as part of his motivation, and that the historical trend of coup leaders seizing the moral high ground against corrupt and violent regimes in turn validated his actions. The quelling of the February 27th 1989 Caracazo protests in which hundreds were killed led Chavez and his Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement – 200 (MBR-200) to action, and on February 4th 1992 MBR-200 undertook an unsuccessful coup attempt against the Perez regime.19

Although the coup was unsuccessful, it paved the way for Chavez's ascendancy to power later in the 1990s for several reasons. The coup dramatically launched Chavez into the popular consciousness and his support in the late 1990s was in large part due to popular sympathy with the coup's aims.20 The coup also radicalized the general population and thus contributed to Rafael Caldera's victory in 1993 on an anti-neoliberal platform. Despite espousing an anti-neoliberal stance, Caldera quickly caused widespread disapproval of his government when it abandoned those positions in 1995. The “resultant combination of popular expectations and disillusionment with pro-establishment politicians [...] was an essential ingredient for Chavez's election in 1998.”21

Under Caldera the government continued to implement neoliberal policies, albeit at a slower pace than the Perez regime. Caldera allowed the foreign takeover of Venezuelan banks, privatized more of the oil sector, the aluminum industry, telecoms and many others. Economic conditions drastically deteriorated during the 1990s and by 1998 Caldera's policies had led to the country accruing national debt of $38 billion. During this period in Latin America, the region wide implementation of neoliberal policies failed to generate support for the paradigm as it resulted in the fragmentation of the middle classes, the loss of formal employment, increased inequality and de-industrialization.22

The implementation of Caldera's neoliberal Agenda Venezuela also coincided with the biggest increase in poverty in Venezuela's history, with the portion of the population below the poverty line rising from 41% to 53.6%. During the 1990s real wages sunk from $5192 in 1990 to $2858 in 1997, 48% of the population found itself in the informal economy in 1998 and Venezuela's HDI dropped from .82 in 1990 to .70 in 1997.23 The embrace of neoliberalism by both Perez (AD) and Caldera (COPEI) in short order, saw both major parties discredit themselves in the eyes of the public.24 Combined with the fact that during the 1990s MAS also followed suit and endorsed neoliberal policies left no traditional political alternatives for discontented voters to gravitate towards.25 The wholesale adoption of neoliberalism by the country's major parties and the ensuing crisis of the 1980s and 1990s demonstrated the total inability of Venezuelan elites to tackle the negative externalities of neoliberal policy.26

Chavez's emergence onto the Venezuelan political scene is the product of and reaction to the country's political and economic history during the preceding decades. Chavez opposed the actions of the traditional elite in general and their adoption of neoliberalism in particular. Karl Polanyi characterizes the neoliberal position as an obsession with the magic of markets, seeking to promote an untenable market driven utopia.27 The economic and social crisis in Venezuela and the de-legitimization of the traditional power holders which occurred after the shattering of the utopian market facade, facilitated the meteoric rise of Chavez and his Bolivarian Revolution, with Chavez winning 56% in the 1998 election.28

The inability to make reality correspond to neoliberal theory led to a slew of social ills and its was a sensitivity to these that propelled Chavez past his competitors in the 1998 election. According to Polanyi it is impossible to “separate the restructuring of capital the accumulation process from the profound social recomposition it led to an was based on.”29 The efforts of globalizing forces to create a single global market upended established socio-political relations, but “this social transformation led to counter-movements through which society protected itself from the untrammelled free market expansion. History thus advances in a series of double movements...whereby market expansions create societal reactions.”30 Hugo Chavez explicitly referenced the historical nature of his struggle, going beyond the failing of AD and COPEI in the preceding decades to state that

[We] are in a battleground [...] where an historical conflict has broken out with fury. Or to be more exact, it has broken out once again after many years of apparent calm, between the forces of domination which have attached themselves to the national body since the conquest, and the liberating forces which have always existed in the bosom of the exploited and deceived majorities for 500 years.31

Indeed the very name employed by Chavez to describe his world view – Bolivarian – borrows the historical gravitas of Simon Bolivar's pan-Latin American independence movement. Specifically by invoking the memory of Bolivar, Chavez is seeking a second independence for Venezuela from the control of the oligarchical elite and the influence of the United States.32

Chavez benefited from his position as a political outsider as well as his humble beginnings in capturing the popular imagination with his message of social justice and the inclusion of previous marginalized sectors of Venezuela's society. Chavez came to power thanks in large part to his repudiation of the existing political parties in Venezuela, and it was this anti-party discourse that in 1998 and after that swelled the ranks of the Chavistas. A substantial portion of Chavez's support are independents and individuals who did not or had not previously identified with any political camp.33 In response to his popularity among the lower classes, critics of the Chavistas have levelled two main charges against Chavez, namely that he is merely a naive populist, and that he is an ideologically hidebound socialist.

Such arguments are supported by Chavez's opponents among the conservative and business elites in Venezuela who along with the domestic media, the Venezuelan Federation of Chambers and Associations of Commerce and Production (FEDECAMARAS), the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, and the United States government, which have come to represent the anti-Chavez camp in Venezuela.34 It is important to deconstruct these claims for while Chavez does incorporate aspects from both (as well as other) approaches, he defies simple categorization along the political and socio-economic spectrum. Chavistas argue that humanistic concerns are more important that economic ones, yet they do not constrain themselves with ideology, recognizing the importance of the role of the market.35

It remains very hard determine Chavez's political views because he has an affinity for many thinkers “from Jesus and Marx to Trotsky, Simon Bolivar, and Peruvian Jose Carlos Mariategui. He also admires Albert Einstein and Noam Chomsky, Muammar el-Qaddafi and Che Guevara.”36

The description of Chavez as a populist has some merit given that many of his polices do have such overtones, yet it is important to distinguish the various conceptualizations of populism in the Latin American context. As Ronaldo Munck clarifies;

the development of populism is probably the main difference between Latin American political development and that of other regions. To this day in international commentary on the left “populism” of Chavez et al. we find quite an ethnocentric emphasis on the irrationality of populism and a constant tendency to see it as the enemy of “normal” political development toward class patterns and progressive social transformation. It is also deemed of course, the enemy of development that can only come about through the unrestricted operation of the market without political interference.37

From the Western perspective, labelling Chavez as a populist is an effort to de-legitimize him, for in the West 'populist' has long been deemed a pejorative. In Latin America there emerged a national-populist conflation in the 1930s and many have compared Chavez more to the classical populist model employed by Peron in the 1930s and 1940s with its popular organization structures and efforts towards a furtherance of democracy.38 Moreover one must question the assertion that just because Chavez gravitates towards the lower classes that this is somehow an aberration from “normal” politics.

Why are efforts to court the middle and upper classes deemed acceptable, yet when similar efforts are directed to the poor, the effort becomes populist ramble-rousing? This is the question Chavez posed to the Venezuelan political elite with his social justice programs emanating from a combination of centralized policies and grassroots initiatives, which where not reactionary nationalism or patriotic jingoism, yet which “the conventional categories of the left were [also] not well equipped to understand.39 For Chavez his primary criticism of the post-1958 regime was that “inflation, hunger, insecurity, education, poverty, all that forms a problematic mass, the cause of which is [...] the exhaustion of the political model.”40

Buoyed by high oil prices, which rose from $8.43 in 1998 to over $100 in the 2000s, Chavez in manner similar to Perez's first term, utilized the profits of the oil sector to fund his social agenda. The 1999 constitution implemented by Chavez increased the national budget allocations to social programs, and prevented the privatization of the social security system. Furthermore the Lands Law of November 2001 saw idle land subject to expropriation and given to rural peasant tenants.

Similarly in February 2002 longtime urban barrio residents were allotted land deeds for their dwellings following a large scale survey of the slums.41 Chavez also launched several government initiatives known as missions which ran parallel to the traditional bureaucracy and focused on pressing social concerns. The Barrio Adentro Mission saw Chavez bring 12,000 Cuban doctors to set up clinics in the barrios and throughout rural Venezuela to provide free medical care as well as train Venezuelan medical professionals.42 This arrangement was facilitated by a deal to provide Cuba forty million barrels of oil a year in exchange for the medical personnel.43 Other missions included the Robinson Mission which sought to eradicate illiteracy by providing cassette tapes and classes to one and a half million people, allowing them to develop basic reading and writing skills. Similarly, the Vuelvan Caras mission provided three hundred thousand people with job and skill training in an effort to reduce the hold of the informal economy on the poorest people in Venezuela.44 These missions combined with other efforts resulted in a significant reduction in poverty levels from 42% in 2000 to 34% by 2006.45

Another aspect of Chavez's “populism” was the establishment of a range of local level and grassroots structures to facilitate political engagement, dialogue and efforts to improve living conditions. These Bolivarian Circles, social organizations and Electoral Battle Units all sought to bolster Chavez's support among the poor, by seeking to institutionalize radical democracy, focusing on people power and continuing Chavez's anti-party stance during the 1999-2003 period. These efforts were part of a concerted effort to incorporate previously marginalized and ignored segments of the population into the political process. This mobilization of the popular classes is what critics saw as dangerous populism because “it provided large sectors of those classes with an experience of participation which has empowered and emboldened them [...] contradicting the hegemony of liberal democracy see as the essential corollary for neoliberal globalization.”46

By circumventing the traditional power bases which parties such as AD and COPEI had always pandered to, Chavez angered the established order which was effectively cut out of the political process. Chavez claimed that “an understanding is not possible between our revolution and the Venezuelan oligarchy [...] Can we coexist? Yes! But will we ever embrace each other...no no no. That is impossible.”47

Chavez's increasing radicalization of the political discourse in turn polarized Venezuelan politics, with AD and COPEI among others uniting in an anti-Chavez camp, a coalition which soon attempted to reestablish the old order. Chavez's effort to increase state control over the oil sector with the 2001 Organic Hydrocarbons Law, in order promote greater independence and reestablish sovereignty over the lifeblood of the Venezuelan economy, was a mortal threat to the conservative, neoliberal order which had long reaped the benefits. The opposition, with clandestine support from the U.S. orchestrated a coup on April 11th 2002 in an attempt to abort the Bolivarian Revolution, with the coup leaders appointed Pedro Carmona as interim leader.

Carmona, a former president of FEDECAMARAS immediately suspended government, instituted marshal law and annulled the reform agenda.48 The coup regime only lasted two days before popular pressure forced the release of Chavez. The coup leaders had severely underestimated the sympathy Chavez had accumulated with his social agenda among the lower classes as well as a ragtag collection of labour, neighbourhood communities, students, ethnic minorities, peasants, small business owners, sectors of the armed forces and progressive churches.49 Chavez was saved by the poor, shanty-town communities of Caracas in conjunction with middle ranking army personnel and workers of the informal economy, and it was this combination “of the charismatic leader of Chavez and these labyrinthine urban slums that set the tone for the Bolivarian Revolution50 [...] and were essential for Chavez's political survival from 2001 to 2004.”51

Having failed to unseat Chavez and his “populist” bulwark, the opposition coalition sought to focus on the other charge they had laid at his feet, that we was a socialist and that he would destroy the Venezuelan economy. From December 2002 to January 2003 the opposition which still controlled substantial sections of petroleum industry sought to cripple the government's finances and prevent Chavez's programs by strangling their funding. A sixty-three day strike paralysed the industry, yet it eventually petered out due to the reluctance of low level workers to continue the strike. In the aftermath Chavez removed 18,000 workers who had supported the strike, thereby further solidifying this control of the sector and weakening the power of the opposition.52

The strike led to a contraction of 10.4% in the economy for 2003, again highlighting the precarious nature of Venezuela's oil dependency.53 Despite claims that Chavez would mismanage the economy, Venezuela saw a growth rate average of 11.85% from 2004 to 2007. While this is primarily due to high oil prices, government policies did in part contribute to this growth, and at least did not hamper rapid growth in the country.54 The opposition continued to tar Chavez as a socialist, a claim which was not without merit, yet one which is problematized by the inability to place Chavismo in any of the traditional socialist camps.

Following his survival of a recall election held in 2004 which he won with 57%, Chavez felt more secure and began to further radicalize his rhetoric, announcing in 2005 that his aim was the creation of 21st century socialism, a novel combination of traditional socialist tenets but with greater plurality and less state intervention. The following year after his 2006 electoral victory Chavez created the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), another move that when taken at face value would presume a socialist agenda. These socialist overtones surprised the West because, in an era which many assumed to embody the “end of history” Chavez's political survival

put the lie to the Washington Consensus promoted notion that any deviation from the macroeconomic model in the age of globalization was doomed to failure.55 There are many progressives in Latin America who [were] not particularly impressed by Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, but most agree that he has the great merit of reintroducing the word “socialism” into the Latin American political lexicon. That is [...] a decolonizing move because it did not accept the dominant knowledge paradigm or to put it bluntly, that capitalism was the only game in town.56

Chavez reintroduced the language of socialism into Latin America, and rather than adopting a mere copy of Cold War socialist thinking and policy instead sought to incorporate humanist elements into and thereby temper a brutalizing capitalism. During the 2000s, Chavez raised the minimum wage from 120,000 Bolivars in 1999 to 614,790 in 2007. Furthermore he created popular credit agencies to provide generous loans to the poor, and mandated that private banks reserve 3% of their credit portfolios for micro credits, resulting in $500 million in said credits being provided in 2005 alone.57

Chavez's policies embodied a new communalistic. humanitarian definition of private property and laid “the foundations for new mode of production based on new regulations of production, new forms of property a the democratization of capital.”58 Such notions would seem to justify the labeling of Hugo Chavez as a socialist, and while he certainly is inspired by socialism and definitively inhabited the leftist portion of the political spectrum, there is a mismatch between the rhetoric used and the economic policies employed. The private sector was not curtailed in any drastic manner by Chavez, and many sectors were encouraged to foster a market atmosphere.

While the Lands Law allowed for expropriation of idle lands, very few instances of seizure actually occurred. Similarly private banks and financial institutions were allowed to exist and flourish, nor were extreme wealth redistribution schemes introduced. The Bolivarian doctrine is neither communist nor neoliberal, rather a mesh of various ideologies, yet one which remained “firmly capitalist, not savage neoliberal capitalism, but a capitalism with another face, with other mechanisms, which is equitable and gets to all Venezuelans.”59

The emergence of Chavismo was one of earliest anti-neoliberal movements in Latin America which emerged as a reaction to the tendency for the “neoliberals (like the positivists before them) to subordinate issues of social justice and national sovereignty to goal of economic growth.”60 The legacy of the failings of previous government as well as the hegemonic dominance of neoliberalism in the Latin America in general and Venezuela in particular during the last decades of the 20th century reached a breaking point when popular dissatisfaction boiled over.

Chavez embodied the rejection of the existing parties and political order which swept the region. Grounded in historical and social memory Chavez sought the creation a more equitable society, not a new desire, but the manner in which the Chavistas sought to accomplish this shattered pre-existing ideological categories. The incorporation of socialism humanistic concerns, together with feelings of national determination and pride and a robust public-private market economy saw efforts to pigeon-hole Chavez as a relic of the Cold War thwarted.

The social policies of the Bolivarian Revolution were neither wholly populist nor traditional, yet caused great consternation domestically and abroad as opponents had to content with this new blend of people power and state intervention. Complementing these social aims, Chavez's economic policy was one defined by pragmatism in which despite his anti-neoliberal rhetoric, acknowledges the role of the market as potential agent of social good; what it required was constraints in order to bridle its energies and direct it towards improving the common lot.



Bruce, Iain. The Real Venezuela: Making Socialism in the Twenty-First Century. London: Pluto Press, 2008.

Cannon, Barry. Hugo Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution: Populism and Democracy in a Globalized Age. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009.

Dent, David W. Hot Spot Latin America. Hot Spot Histories. London: Greenwood Press, 2008.

Ellner, Steve. Rethinking Venezuelan Politics: Class, Conflict, and the Chavez Phenomenon. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2008.

Ellner, Steve. “The Hugo Chavez Phenomenon: Anti-Imperialism from Above or Radical Democracry from Below?” in Empire and Dissent: The United States and Latin America. ed. Fred Rosen. London: Duke University Press, 2008.

Marichal, Carlos. “The Finances of Hegemony in Latin America: Debt Negotiations and the Role of the U.S. Government 1945-2005.” in Empire and Dissent: The United States and Latin America. ed. Fred Rosen. London: Duke University Press, 2008.

Meade, Teresa A. A History of Modern Latin America 1800 to Present. Concise History of the Modern World. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

Munck, Ronaldo. Rethinking Latin America: Development, Hegemony, and Social Transformation. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

Romero, Carlos A. & Javier Corrales. “Relations Between the United States and Venezuela, 2001-2009: A Bridge in Need of Repairs.” in Contemporary U.S.-Latin American Relations: Cooperation or Conflict in the 21st Century? eds. Jorge I Dominguez & Rafael Fernandez de Castro. New York: Routledge, 2010.

Sader, Emir. The New Mole: Paths of the Latin American Left. trans. Iain Bruce. London: Verso, 2011.

Schneider, Ronald M. Comparative Latin American Politics. Boulder: Westview Press, 2010.



1Steve, Ellner, Rethinking Venezuelan Politics: Class, Conflict, and the Chavez Phenomenon, (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2008), 12.

2Ellner, Rethinkg Venezuelan Politics, 12.

3Steve, Ellner, “The Hugo Chavez Phenomenon: Anti-Imperialism from Above or Radical Democracry from Below?” in Empire and Dissent: The United States and Latin America. ed. Fred Rosen, (London: Duke University Press, 2008), 213.

4Ellner, Rethinking Venezuelan Politics, 76.

5Ellner, Rethinking Venezuelan Politics, 76.

6Ronald M. Schneider, Comparative Latin American Politics, (Boulder: Westview Press, 2010), 274.

7Ellner, Rethinking Venezuelan Politics, 5.

8Schneider, 276.

9Carlos, Marichal, “The Finances of Hegemony in Latin America: Debt Negotiations and the Role of the U.S. Government 1945-2005,” in Empire and Dissent: The United States and Latin America, ed. Fred Rosen, (London: Duke University Press, 2008), 98.

10Ellner, Rethinking Venezuelan Politics, 72.

11Barry, Cannon, Hugo Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution: Populism and Democracy in a Globalized Age, (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009), 36.

12Cannon, 35.

13Ellner, Rethinking Venezuelan Politics, 78-79.

14Marichal, 101.

15Ellner, Rethinking Venezuelan Politics, 76-77.

16Cannon, 58.

17Ellner, Rethinking Venezuelan Politics, 85-86.

18Cannon, 37.

19Schneider, 281.

20Ellner, Rethinking Venezuelan Politics, 12.

21Ellner, Rethinking Venezuelan Politics, 12.

22Emir, Sader, The New Mole: Paths of the Latin American Left, trans. Iain Bruce, (London: Verso, 2011), 21.

23Cannon, 35-36.

24Sader, 128-129.

25Ellner, Rethinking Venezuelan Politics, 101.

26Cannon, 101-102.

27Ronaldo, Munck, Rethinking Latin America: Development, Hegemony, and Social Transformation, (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), 133.

28Ellner, Rethinking Venezuelan Politics, 105.

29Munck, 133.

30Munck, 132.

31Cannon, 57.

32Munck, 154.

33Ellner, “The Hugo Chavez Phenomenon: Anti-Imperialism from Above or Radical Democracy from Below?” 207.

34 Ellner, Rethinking Venezuelan Politics, 134.

35Ellner, Rethinking Venezuelan Politics, 5.

36David W. Dent, Hot Spot Latin America, Hot Spot Histories, (London: Greenwood Press, 2008), 142.

37Munck, 75.

38Cannon, 69. Ellner, Rethinking Venezuelan Politics, 148.

39Iain, Bruce, The Real Venezuela: Making Socialism in the Twenty-First Century, (London: Pluto Press, 2008), 38.

40Cannon, 79-80.

41Ellner, “The Hugo Chavez Phenomenon: Anti-Imperialism from Above or Radical Democracy from Below?” 213.

42 Ellner, Rethinking Venezuelan Politics, 122.

43 Teresa A. Meade, A History of Modern Latin America 1800 to Present. Concise History of the Modern World, (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 312.

44Ellner, Rethinking Venezuelan Politics, 124, 129.

45Meade, 312.

46Cannon, 69.

47Carlos A. Romero & Javier Corrales, “Relations Between the United States and Venezuela, 2001-2009: A Bridge in Need of Repairs,” in Contemporary U.S.-Latin American Relations: Cooperation or Conflict in the 21st Century? eds. Jorge I Dominguez & Rafael Fernandez de Castro, (New York: Routledge, 2010), 220.

48Meade, 312.

49Cannon, 59.

50Bruce, 22-23.

51Ellner, Rethinking Venezuelan Politics, 219.

52Cannon, 83.

53Cannon, 62.

54Cannon, 86.

55Ellner, Rethinking Venezuelan Politics, 113.

56Munck, 195.

57Cannon, 85-86.

58Bruce, 178.

59Cannon, 58.

60Ellner, Rethinking Venezuelan Politics, 14.

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