Friday, September 21, 2007
If posting is a tad slow for the next little while you have the above book to blame.
Writing about Venezuela seems to have become a cottage industry lately. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a book, save Charles Hardy's, on the country, either pro or anti Chavez, which I can read more than 20 pages of without getting really annoyed at all the errors, generalizations, and general cheerleading for one side or the other.
Finally, I think there is a book out which may break out of that mold and elevate both peoples understanding of Venezuela and the discussion about it.
It is written by Greg Wilpert who also edits the pro-Chavez web-site Venezuelanalysis. Before our anti-Chavez friends blanch it should be pointed out he has consistently been a very fair minded and analytical person. He is also an academic (PhD in sociology and a former Fullbright Scholar)which leads him to analyse topics both thoroughly and pretty objectively (especially by the standards of discusssions on Venezuela where things often quickly degenerate to name calling). He has always been willing to acknowledge the shortcomings of the Chavez led government. Therefore this book should not just be silly pom pom "Chavez is the greatest thing since sliced bread" track.
Interestingly, the end of the book has an appendix dedicated to discussing what XXI Century Socialism is supposed to be and how it would be different from other political and economic systems because as the author points out Chavez himself never says. Half way through it I can say while I don't agree with everything it is both thorough and VERY interesting. It can definitely serve as the basis for many an interesting discussion.
It will probably be some time before I finish the book and am able to write any worthwhile critique of it but I already think it would really help the discussions on the this blog if others read it.
It's in bookstores already in the U.S. so you all now have your assigned reading.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention I'm reading this one too:
As you can see I am going to be busy this weekend. So no-one better write any more fucking books on Venezuela. And if they do, well they'll just have to take a number. Seriously, if Venezuela could get the royalties from all these books on Chavez it might be able to give up its day job of exporting oil. Jeeze.