March 7, 2017

Book Review, Popular Politics in Bolivarian Venezuela

:::::: Book Review ::::::

The Media and Power in Postliberal Venezuela
The Legacy of Chávez for the Debate on Freedom of Expression
by Anthony Petros Spanakos and Mishella Salomé Romo

The Bolivarian process in Venezuela provides scholars two immediate and ongoing challenges. First, unlike many other efforts to democratize, it is a case that is deliberately nonliberal. Second, its emphasis on the popular will has often been in tension with the outsized role of the leadership of Hugo Chávez and the use of state resources to advance interests shared unevenly in a heterogeneous coalition. In other words, scholarly explanations find support for both bottom-up and top-down explanations. These challenges are especially important given the decline of oil prices, the shift from Chávez to Maduro, and the intensification of political conflict in the past three years. The four books reviewed here offer valuable contributions to these questions and provide insight into the current political crisis in Venezuela.


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