George Ciccariello-Maher is the author of We Created Chávez: A People’s History of the Venezuelan Revolution (2013)
Directly below is an outline of the main questions we asked in the interview but you’ll have to listen to the podcast for his fascinating answers. And then you should read the book too. We hope very much to have the opportunity to talk to him again about the developments in this dynamic and part of the world. At a time when most of the globe is going from bad to worse, the Bolivarian republics of Latin America seem to be a beacon of hope–not perfect but showing clear measurable improvement in the standard of living of the majority of their population. This is more than almost all other countries can say for themselves…
> We had a show defending Chavez’s political and economic record right after he died in March
> You have a special point of view:
>> You see Chavez as a chapter in a larger story
> Where did your personal interest come from?
> Book starts from fall of dictatorship in 58 and the beginning of “democracy” Why?
> Chavez is not the focus: What then IS his contribution/importance?
> Is Venezuela special in S. America? in the world? How so?
> Jesse Velez asked about the recent developments now that Chavez is dead?
> Explain the structure of the opposition to Chavez and now Maduro:
>> from the radical left
>> from the right
>> how did they get so many votes in the last election?
> Any lessons for the US in all this?
- Foreign policy (vis-a-vis global people’s movements)
- Domestic: horizontal/vertical reforms
> Jesse Velez asked about popular movements in his native Puerto Rico.
> Finally: On a different local issue we touched upon the Zimmerman trial and the critical importance of understanding the historical context behind such divisive painful issues in order to develop empathy which is what makes us human.