In the void left by Maduro’s inaction, grassroots activists have turned inwards and begun to seek concrete solutions. With the help of key ministries that continue to grant money to social movements, these activists have become the motor for a renaissance of small-scale production in this oil-dependent nation.
A politically refined reading on the presidency of Nicolás Maduro starting with a recognition of the morass of circumstances he has had to face as the country’s leader. Without a doubt, the legacy of Maduro’s recent but extremely turbulent presidency is based on constructing a leadership with its own characteristics: its own attributes, its own styles, its own errors, its own incongruities, in a context of structures, as well as new circumstances.
Not only does Venezuela give us much to learn from this creative experiment with “twenty-first century socialism,” but it also continues to play a crucial role in Latin America and the rest of the world—opening spaces for the election of left governments and inspiring extra-parliamentary movements that demand radical social change. However, it is important to recognize that as with any socialist experiment, it has been riddled with contradictions and tensions. Nonetheless, the Bolivarian revolution is worth defending because of its importance to the region and its worth in its own right.
Economic crisis, product shortages, and polarization paint a scenario in which the continuity of the Bolivarian movement is at stake. So is the sovereignty of a country that dared to challenge its dependence on a superpower that considers the Caribbean a “closed sea to which the United States holds the key.”
The Venezuelan opposition has been skillfully using Twitter and Facebook to disseminate horrifying photos and testimonies of alleged government violence and abuse against protesters over the last few weeks. The problem with these allegations and images which have gone viral globally, and even used by media outlets, is that they are fabrications; many of the most viral photos allegedly from Venezuela have actually depicted images from places such as Syria, Chile, Brazil – and even a US-based porn site.
How shall we put today’s revolutionary left in Venezuela into context? Is the left a movement of transformative action, or is it a simple ideological protocol that presupposes a pre-established discursive contract?
“Today the counter-revolutionary Right is reactivating itself,” according to long-time Venezuelan revolutionary Roland Denis, “taking advantage of the profound deterioration that this slow revolutionary process is suffering. Its reappearance and interlacing with ‘democratic civil society’ is a clear signal to the popular movement that we either convert this moment into a creative and reactivating crisis of the collective revolutionary will, or we bid farewell to this beautiful and traumatic history that we have built over the last 25 years.”