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The Battle of Venezuelaby Michael Mccaughan
Synopses & Reviews
In August 2004, the Venezuelan public came out in record numbers to deliver an overwhelming vote of confidence. After many attempts to unseat him, Hugo Chåvez, the former military man who took the country first by coup and then by ballot, again emerged as the peoples choice. It was, in his words, "a victory for the people of Venezuela."
Yet despite Chåvezs successes, having defended his post in six referenda, two elections and against one failed coup, Venezuela—one of the worlds largest oil exporting countries—is a nation deeply divided. The power struggle between the countrys first indigenous head of state and his detractors expresses a larger conflict gripping the region.
In The Battle of Venezuela, Guardian reporter Michael McCaughan captures the drama of challenges to Chåvezs presidency in the courts and on the streets of Caracas. In this detailed analysis of the political forces at work, McCaughan documents the role of the countrys powerful and shrinking middle class, the effects of Chåvezs social programs for his mainly poor constituents, and the rise of the social movement whose members proclaim themselves "Chåvistas."
Book News Annotation:
About 90 percent of Venezuela's people are poor, and that number is likely to rise as its middle class continues to disappear. Venezuela is also the third largest oil importer to the US. These two startling bits of data frame the career of Hugo Chavez, the nation's first indigenous head of state, who came to power by coup but stayed put through referenda, elections, and a highly suspicious but failed revolt. Seasoned journalist McCaughan builds on his interviews with Chavez, government officials and ordinary people to show how deeply divided the country is, in spite of or perhaps because of efforts by the Chavez camp to create social programs for the poor, and the ceaseless presence of the US need for fossil fuel. McCaughan shows how the difficulties for Chavez mirror difficulties for the region and the world as the US seeks to meet its needs for oil. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A probing account of "the most original political experiment in Latin America since the Cuban Revolution"--Richard Gott
About the Author
MICHAEL MCCAUGHAN has reported extensively from Latin America for The Irish Times and The Guardian, among others. He is author of True Crimes: Rodolfo Walsh, the Life and Times of a Radical Intellectual.
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