Posts Tagged ‘Hugo Chavez’

George Ciccariello-Maher is the author of We Created Chávez: A People’s History of the Venezuelan Revolution (2013)


There’s a complete bio on my prior post announcing the show here, and more info as well as a wealth of other writing on George’s website.

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…

Question outline:

> 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

>> The book displaces the debate from the man himself to looking at the Venezuelan people instead of their leaders: A people’s history like Howard Zinn‘s A people’s History of the US.

> 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
  • #occupy?

> 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.


We Created Chávez: A People’s History of the Venezuelan Revolution (George Ciccariello-Maher)

I’m grateful to my good buddy Jay Gordon who arranged this interview (sadly he’s working and cannot join us).

George Ciccariello-Maher has emerged as probably the best expert on Venezuelan political-economy over the past few years. I’m in the middle of his brilliant 1st book on the history of revolutionary movements in Venezuela entitled We Created Chávez: A People’s History of the Venezuelan Revolution — I learn something fascinating with every page (Kindle edition).

Find out more about his prolific work here.

George Ciccariello-Maher is a writer, radical political theorist, and currently Assistant Professor of Political Science at Drexel University in Philadelphia. He has taught radical theory and politics at Drexel, U.C. Berkeley, San Quentin State Prison, and the Venezuelan School of Planning in Caracas. He holds a B.A. in Government and Economics from St. Lawrence University, a B.A. Hons. and M.A. in Social and Political Sciences from St. John’s College, University of Cambridge, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from U.C. Berkeley.

He ‘s working on a second book that is a theoretical analysis of violence and revolutionary identity in French syndicalist Georges Sorel, Black revolutionary Frantz Fanon, and Latin American philosopher of liberation Enrique Dussel entitled Decolonizing Dialectics.

His dispatches have appeared in CounterpunchMR ZineZNetVenezuela AnalysisAlternetWarscapes MagazineHistory Workshop OnlineMediaLeftThe SF Bayview, and Wiretap Magazine, and he has written op-eds for Fox News Latino and the Philadelphia Inquirer. His academic articles have appeared or are forthcoming inTheory & EventLatin American PerspectivesContemporary Political TheoryQui ParleMonthly ReviewRadical Philosophy ReviewListeningJournal of Black StudiesHuman Architecture, and The Commoner, as well as numerous edited volumes.


He appears and is quoted frequently in the media on subjects ranging from Venezuelan politics to the Occupy Movement, notably Al JazeeraFox News LiveCNN EspañolRussia TodayNational Public RadioTelemundo, the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, and Brazil’s Gazeta do Povo and Correio Braziliense.


He is an avid translator of Latin American decolonial theory, having translated several books and dozens of articles by thinkers like Enrique Dussel, Immanuel Wallerstein, Anibal Quijano, and Santiago Castro-Gomez, among others.

Chavez facts


Here are the sources Jay referenced in our discussion on Chavez

Pro Chavez

Critical of Chavez

We had Corey Carroll with us


Here’s a good documentary on Chavez in the broader context of Latin America’s 500+ years genocide, slavery, exploitation, and poverty. There are many other sources on this.


So we are looking for available air-time to discuss this and examine the big picture. Also, I will write a very short obituary in the East Orlando Post as soon as I can…

In the meantime, check out these 2 articles:

Defending Chavez:

Most well-meaning (but somewhat misinformed) people relied on this one to establish how bad Chavez was: (I’m very disappointed in Human Rights Watch for providing information with NO CONTEXT AT ALL–Fox/MSNBC style)