- The opening paragraph of Venezuela Speaks: While President Hugo Chávez captures headlines throughout the world, a much larger story of Venezuela, involving a wider cast of characters continues to be largely ignored by mainstream media. From reading mainstream coverage of Venezuela, one is often left with the impression that President Chávez is the sole mastermind behind all that is taking place in the country, with or without the support of the Venezuelan people. Chávez has certainly brought the charismatic leadership necessary to unite many previously divided grassroots sectors, and he has provided a framework and name to Venezuela’s current political process, the Bolivarian Revolution. But a rigorous look at Venezuela’s political situation and the various on-the-ground experiences reveals that, to a great degree, this is a process being constructed from below. Without the active participation of large and diverse sectors of society, Chávez’s moment on the scene would not have lasted much longer than the short-lived 2002 coup, which took him from office for a brief forty-seven hours.
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