Hugo Chávez won re-election in the 2012 Venezuelan presidential election, despite a closer margin between candidates than in previous elections. The results were puzzling for those who believed that Chávez’s government had long ago reached its limits, while Chávez’s supporters were struck by the growth of the opposition vote. Thus understanding the Venezuelan election of 2012 has proved to be challenging, with various recent studies focused upon it. Luis F. Angosto Ferrández’s book advances two ideas not previously discussed: the relationship between electoral behavior in Venezuela and contemporary Latin American geopolitics, and the way that relationship is projected through the candidates’ appeal to narratives that situate Venezuela at the core of a heroic Latin American tradition and of a new regional process of integration.
This edited volume first contextualizes and explains the results of the last re-election of Hugo Chávez in terms of its geopolitical conditionings and implications. Contributors tackle Latin American geopolitics by analyzing Venezuelan foreign policy and the country's role in continental projects of supra-national integration. Contributors also examine electoral strategy and tactics in order to show how the two main candidates built their campaign on emotional grounds as much on rational ones. This will be connected to the investigation of new narratives of national identification in contemporary Venezuela and how they may have practical implications in the design of policies addressing issues such as indigenous rights, community media and national security.
Compiling state-of-the-art research on Latin American and Venezuelan politics, this book will appeal to academics and professionals who specialize in Latin American studies, international relations, democracy, and indigenous peoples.
"Among the many books on Venezuela, this one is unique and to be praised for offering a clear-eyed, balanced assessment of the impact of Hugo Chávez Frías on hemispheric and global relations. It wrestles with thorny issues about the limits and possibilities of revolution in the current geopolitical context, benefitting from fine research on Latin America being undertaken in Australasia."
—Daniel Hellinger, Webster University
"This volume represents a unique effort to explore the tie-in between struggles within Venezuela in favor of justice and democratic consolidation, on the one hand, and international relations, on the other. Editor Luis Angosto-Ferrández uses a post-structuralist approach to relate symbols and discourse to the initiatives promoting Latin American unity undertaken by President Hugo Chávez. In addition to examining government actions to create a Latin American bloc and the unity of third world countries, several chapters in the book focus on the Venezuelan Indigenous movement and its transnational networks. All eight of the book’s chapters provide a wealth of useful information that illuminates Venezuelan developments as well as continental and North-South relations. The reader may or may not be in agreement with all the authors’ arguments and viewpoints, but will undoubtedly find his/her grasp of the complex transformations currently underway in Venezuela and Latin America significantly enhanced."
—Steve Ellner, editor of Latin America’s Radical Left: Challenges and Complexities of Political Power in the Twenty-First Century
"This is an excellent and long-overdue examination of the international impact of the Bolivarian revolution. It takes seriously what many academics and the great majority of media commentators have tended to dismiss as irrelevant or insigni?cant"
— D.L. Raby, University of Liverpool
"This outstanding volume is a critical contribution to the ongoing struggle about how to make sense of the transformations that have taken place over the last two decades in Latin America and the Caribbean."
— Thomas Muhr, editor of Counter-Globalisation and Socialism in the 21st Century: The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America
1. Democracy, Revolution and Geopolitics in Latin America: Venezuelan Politics and the International of Discontent; Luis Fernando Angosto-Ferrández 2. Chávez and American Integration; Tim Anderson 3. "Ploughing the Sea" in a World of Regions: Venezuela’s Role in Reviving Latin American Regionalism for the 21st Century; Anthea McCarthy-Jones 4. Petrocaribe: A project for Development in the Caribbean and Central America?;Rodrigo Acuña 5. The Right to Information: Indigenous Media andthe Bolivarian Revolution; Kathryn Lehman 6. Indigenous Peoples, Populist Logics and Polarization: Understanding the Pivotal Role of Indigeneity in Venezuelan Elections; Luis Fernando Angosto-Ferrández 7. Hope and Fear in Venezuelan Democracy: Violence, Citizen Insecurity and Competing Neoliberal and Socialist Urban Imaginaries; Michael Humphrey and Estela Valverde 8. Ordering Discontent: Domestic and International Dynamics of the Bolivarian Revolution; Luis Fernando Angosto-Ferrández