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17:30 - 19:00 22 March 2017
Urban Protest and Informal Democracy in Venezuela
Lecture Room 103 |
UCL – Institute of the Americas
51 Gordon Square | London | WC1H 0PQ | United Kingdom
Ticketing: Pre-booking essential
Professor Alejandro Velasco, Associate Professor, Gallatin School, New York University, Alejandro Velasco is a historian of modern Latin America whose research and teaching interests are in the areas of social movements, urban culture and democratization. His book, Barrio Rising: Urban Popular Politics and the Making of Modern Venezuela (University of California Press, 2015), couples archival and ethnographic research to examine how residents of Venezuela’s largest public housing community pursued full citizenship during the heyday of Latin America’s once-model democracy.
Venezuela today is a country mired in turmoil. But thirty years ago the story was different. Back then Venezuela stood for many as an inclusive democracy in a region where dictatorship and civil war reigned. Enlightened leaders, strong parties, powerful unions – all spoke of a stable political system that for decades managed to ensure social peace. Or so it seemed. As historian Alejandro Velasco argues, the conflicts that grip Venezuela today aren’t a departure from but a continuation of decades-long struggles over what kind of democracy would emerge after the country’s last military dictatorship fell in 1958. These struggles played out dramatically in the 23 de enero (January 23rd) neighbourhood, a massive complex of squatter settlements and public housing high-rises in the heart of Venezuela’s capital Caracas. Named in honour of democracy’s founding date, the neighbourhood's history mirrors the nation’s democratic history...
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