Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2010

Publication Source

Revista Venezolana de Analisis de Coyuntura

Volume

16

Issue

1

Inclusive pages

53-76

Publisher

Central University of Venezuela

Place of Publication

Caracas-Venezuela

ISBN/ISSN

13153617

Peer Reviewed

yes

Abstract

Since Hugo Chávez’s rise to the presidency, Venezuela has become a deeply divided country. The ensuing polarization has expressed in violent forms of political fanaticism; in the partisan fracture of many professional and labor associations, of the army, in open warfare between private and public media outlets; in the weakening of the private sector of the economy and, overall, in the erosion of sociability. The present article seeks to explain the causes of such a high degree of polarization. It departs from two main hypotheses: First, the Bolivarian Revolution reveals two distinct faces: an authoritarian face and a welfare face. Second, the coexistence of these two faces accounts for the high degree of political polarization. The article concludes by arguing that the contrasting perspectives Venezuelans hold in relation to the Bolivarian Revolution are closely associated to their divergent views regarding the meaning and practice of democracy.

Keywords

Bolivarian Revolution, Venezuela, Political polarization

Disciplines

Political Science | Sociology

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