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Mico Mandante
Racist caricature of Chavez
"Miko Mandante"

The racial conflict in Venezuela - El conflicto racial en Venezuela

 "Racism is one of the main engines and expressions of the current counter-revolution. In Venezuela the revolutionary struggle to end white supremacy and for self-determination is slow, and complicated by white elites, backed by US imperialism, and by the denial of many that racism persists.... Traditionally anti-racist coalitions have ignored Venezuela. It is time we stand in solidarity with the majority of people in Venezuela and voice strong opposition to U.S. –sponsored coups or any intervention on the side of the counter-revolution." -- Racism Sin Vergüenza in the Venezuelan Counter-Revolution  5/27/2014 Venezuelanalysis.com.

This denial and the accompanying invisibilty of Black and Indigenous Venezuelans in many otherwise solid progressive articles are an important reason the situation there is not being challenged. #NoMoreSilence. This phenomena holds true across the Americas. It was noticeable in progressive reactions to the election of Trump, an exceptionally out front and charged up proponent of white supremacy, a characteristic his voters viewed as THE primary reason for selecting him. And yet progressives had trouble seeing this and many remain dismissive of identity politics. We can no longer afford this.

It is heartening to see that many Venezuelans are aware of this problem, as you can see in the articles below. This awareness needs to be comunicated across the Americas.

<== There are many cartoons such as this one by Kiko Rodriguez. It is one of the more repulsive depictions of Chavez that not only expresses time-worn racist contempt for people of African descent, but also foments hatred by appealing to white fears that have existed since the days of slavery. The title is “Miko Mandante”, meaning “Ape Commander” to mock the affectionate title “Mi Comandante” used by masses of Venezuelan people. Kiko Rodriguez left his birthplace in Cuba for Ecuador in 2000. He won the First Annual Latin American Illustration Competition with this cartoon, which was widely circulated in the private press of Venezuela and other countries (adapted with thanks from Venezuela Analysis, Racism Sin Vergüenza in the Venezuelan Counter-Revolution).

Articulos/Articlestop

¿Resucitaran los afrodescendientes con agenda propia ?  4/2/2018 Aporrea: "Ante una delegacion Internacional con representacion de lideres afrolatinoamericanos, Caribe, Europa y de Estados Unidos, los cuales gozan en sus respectivos paises de mucho respecto por sus activismos a favor de las y los afrodescendientes, quedo demostrado una vez la disposicion del proceso Bolivariano de retomar una agenda que viene planteando el Movimiento Afrovenezolano en sus distintas Corrientes para acabar con los vestigios de la discriminacion, el racismo, la exclusion y los desequilibrios regionales en cuanto a los desarrollos locales de las comunidades afrodescendientes."

Defender y desarrollar el legado de Hugo Chávez  3/16/2018 Diafar Diaspora Africana de la Argentina: por Danny Glover - "Los ataques políticos contra sus políticas públicas e internacionales y los despectivos ataques racistas personales no pudieron disuadirlo de confrontar el hecho empíricamente evidente de que las políticas de gobernanza global de la élite, que favorecían a los ricos y poderosos entre las naciones y los ciudadanos, eran destructivas y mortales para la mayoría de los países y las masas de ciudadanos en todo el mundo. Fue claro y directo al observar: "El racismo es muy característico del imperialismo y el capitalismo. El odio contra mí tiene mucho que ver con el racismo. Debido a mi gran boca y pelo rizado. Y estoy muy orgulloso de tener esta boca y este pelo, porque es africano"."

Venezuela mestiza, pero profundamente racista  12/6/2017 Climax: "En 2013, de acuerdo con un estudio publicado por The Washington Post, Venezuela resultó ser el país más racista del continente americano. Los datos compilados por Max Fisher y recogidos por el World Values Survey señalan que los países nórdicos, anglosajones y latinoamericanos son los más tolerantes a aceptar ciudadanos de distintos orígenes." [Por esto, el gobierno EEUU mata a los afro, lo que no se ve en Venezuela.]

Derrotada la violencia, racismo e intervencionismo  10/22/2017 Aporrea: "Una vez mas, las mayorías, por no decir todas, las comunidades afrovenezolanas apoyaron con sus votos al proceso Bolivariano, lo cual demuestra que, pese a la severa crisis que se vive en estas comunidades, su lealtad al proceso bolivariano es indiscutible. El articulo de Freddy Pollito Blanco, develando el racismo de Carlo Ocariz al calificar a los ¨negros¨de Barlovento como ¨jediondos¨, tuvo su efecto. A eso se le suma que fue en el Estado Miranda (PLaza Altamira) donde quemaron e hirieron a jóvenes afrodescendientes por ser chavistas y ¨negros¨."

¿Comisión contra el odio sin afrodescendiente?  8/30/2017 Aporrea: "Venezuela no escapa de ese eclipse de Trump que contagió a Monseñor Antonio Castillo quien le echó agua bendita a los guarimberos quemadores de afrodescendientes y azusando a una guerra civil y de razas en Venezuela."

Venezuela’s long history of racism is coming back to haunt it  8/16/2017 The Conversation: 'In the early years of Hugo Chávez’s rise to power, right wing criticism of the government was frequently couched in racial and cultural terms. The private media portrayed government supporters as hordes of “monkeys” moved by base emotions and swayed by an authoritarian leader. One anti-Chavista told me in 2005 that a president should be a “señor” who speaks English, and not someone from such a humble background that he only started wearing shoes at the age of eight. Chávez was not fit to be president, she elaborated, “because of his culture, the tiny bit he has … He wants us all to live like he used to live”.

Strange Fruit: Venezuela has an Opposition that Nobody Should Support  7/29/2017 Venezuela Analysis: "Bolivarian University Professor Chris Gilbert addresses the racism and white supremacy of the Venezuelan opposition in light of recent lynchings against Black and Brown Venezuelans accused of being "Chavistas" or "thieves" by opposition militants."

The Struggle For Venezuela and Its Afro-historical Component  7/8/2017 Black Star News: "It is no different in Venezuela today. How do we account for the burning by anti-government demonstrators of a 21 year old Afro Venezuelan, Oscar Figuera, simply for identifying as a Chavez supporter? The anti-Bolivarian opposition is also anti-Black. These are the stories you don?t hear about during these ?peaceful? opposition protests; just as few knew about the lynching of Black Libyans and ethnic cleansing of Tawergha and other abuses due to the media blackout except for a few outlets. This opposition is really no different than the Right-wing that supports President Donald Trump and here in America they include Neo-Nazis and the KKK."

Venezuelan Youth Burned for 'Being Chavista' Dies from Injuries  6/4/2017 teleSUR: "Orlando Jose Figuera was burned alive on May 20 in Caracas’ Altamira neighborhood, one of the capital’s affluent areas, after opposition protesters suspected that the 21-year-old Black man was a government supporter."

Racism and Hate Fuel Right-Wing Terrorism in Venezuela  6/1/2017 teleSUR: "Rhetoric aimed at vilifying all Chavistas, often mixed with racism and bigotry, has motivated a growing number of hate crimes and assaults."

TERRORISMO RACIAL EN LA PLAZA ALTAMIRA  5/27/2017 JOVENES AFROVENEZOLANOS: "Recuerdo que casi inmediatamente después del golpe de Estado Contra el presidente Chávez y el paro petrolero, cuando los militares tomaron la plaza Altamira, esta fue convertida en una especie de Apartheid. Si la memoria no me falla en esos tiempo pasaba una indígena y la golpearon por ser india chavista. Posteriormente a mi amigo Cesar Quintero quien tuvo que pasar por esa plaza a pie para llevar al profesor japonés Jun Isibashi para su hotel, un grupo de terrorista racista, lo agarraron, pues el amigo además de ser afro llevaba una franela roja, fue golpeado y luego recogido irónicamente por la policía de Chacao, después de recibir una rumba e palo."

Racist Mobs Lynch, Set Fire to Venezuelans with Brown Skin, Assuming Them Chavistas  5/21/2017 Liberation: "In at least one documented incident, the man attacked did not identify as a supporter of Chávez or of the Bolivarian government, but he was assumed so by a mob that attacked him based on his skin color. Right wing supporters are disproportionately whiter and from wealthier neighborhoods; the man in question was Afro-descendant and reportedly from a barrio of Caracas. He was reportedly accused by right wing protesters of being an infiltrator before the mob set upon him."

La ultraderecha contra Venezuela  2/13/2017 ALAI: por Jesús Chucho García - "De nuevo, arrancando el año 2017, al igual que el año pasado, el radio de acción de la combinación perfecta de los ultraderechistas diputados venezolanos y los ultraderechista de siempre del Congreso de los Estados Unidos, arremeten contra el proceso bolivariano. La reciente visita del diputado de la Asamblea Nacional de Venezuela y miembro del partido fascista Voluntad Popular Freddy Guevara por Washington, tuvo como finalidad solicitar una bomba de oxígeno desesperadamente para reunirse con el equipo de gobierno del presidente Donald Trump, así como con el amargo Luis Almagro, secretario general de la OEA y congresista de la ultraderecha como Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Marcos Rubio, Ted Cruz y el acusado e investigado por corrupción Bob Menéndez, entre otros, incluyendo algunos demócratas de la misma estirpe."

El discreto encanto del racismo venezolano  1/27/2016 Contrapunto: "Durante años he tenido que escuchar en diversos espacios académicos y cotidianos comentarios de personas que aseguran que Venezuela es un territorio libre de racismo, que por fortuna las desigualdades de carácter étnico-racial no han tocado nuestra tierra, que todos somos iguales, somos mestizos, que quienes consideramos que la discriminación racial existe es porque somos resentidos sociales o en el menor de los casos acomplejados, pues nuestras relaciones sociales se caracterizan por la armonía y la fraternidad entre coterráneos. Pero llama particularmente la atención que estas afirmaciones son repetidas hasta el cansancio por personas que no creen en la existencia de las múltiples y diversas formas de discriminación que coexisten en nuestra sociedad porque no han estado expuestos a ninguna de ellas."

Black Lives Matter Network Denounces U.S. “Continuing Intervention” in Venezuela  11/26/2015 Venezuela Analysis: "The co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Network and Executive Director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration warns that the recent electoral victory of U.S.-backed counter revolutionary parties in Venezuela endangers the country’s African-descended population. The letter denounces “corporate media lies about electoral corruption voiced by Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sander’s defamation of late President Hugo Chavez labeling him a dictator.” “We reject any action the U.S. puts forward to plunder Venezuelan natural resources, occupy the country and incite violence.”"

Historian outlines keys to justice for Afro-Venezuelan community  11/8/2015 Diamondback: "Justice, reparations and development are the three principles that can right the wrongs that plague Afro-Venezuelans today, according to a Venezuelan historian who visited this university. Jesus Chucho Garcia, a Pan-Africanist and filmmaker, came to Nyumburu Cultural Center on Friday to present his documentary, “Chavez in Africa,” and discuss the history behind the struggles that descendants of Africans in Venezuela face."

Venezuela | Movimientos afrodescendientes proponen incluir lucha contra el racismo en los medios  8/15/2015 Legado Afro: “No es posible que en los medios de comunicación se sigan difundiendo estereotipos donde se presenta como ‘inferiores’ a los afrodescendientes; necesitamos que haya más presencia indígena y afrodescendiente en los programas”, indicó Luisa Pérez, vocera de la Fundación La Muchachere de Curiepe."

Tackling Racism In Venezuela to Build a Society of Equals  3/20/2015 teleSUR: "Hugo Chavez was the first president in Venezuela's history to claim and honor his indigenous and African ancestry. In an interview in 2005, Chavez famously said, “Hate against me has a lot to do with racism. Because of my mouth, because of my curly hair. And I’m so proud to have this month and this hair, because it’s African.” An emphasis on tackling structural racism saw the passing of the 2011 Law Against Racial Discrimination."

Racism Sin Vergüenza in the Venezuelan Counter-Revolution  5/27/2014 Venezuelanalysis.com: Racism is one of the main engines and expressions of the current counter-revolution. In Venezuela the revolutionary struggle to end white supremacy and for self-determination is slow, and complicated by white elites, backed by US imperialism, and by the denial of many that racism persists.

Venezuela’s Afro Descendent Front Proposes Program of Action to Confront Racism and Fascism  5/12/2014 Venezuela Analysis: "On Saturday, May 10, ignoring the rain, more than 1000 African Descendant Venezuelans flooded the streets in a march from the Venezuelan Central Bank to Miraflores Presidential Palace in downtown Caracas. Members of drumming groups from each of the nation’s states, some in traditional costumes and some wearing t-shirts claiming membership in the Frente Afrodescendientes (Afro descendent Front) had gathered to mark the official Day of Afrovenezolanidad (Afro-Venezuelaness)."

Why Are There No Barricades in Afro-Descendant Communities?  4/23/2014 Venezuela Analysis: By Jesús Chucho García

Are Race and Class at the Root of Venezuela’s Political Crisis?  4/6/2014 VoA: "“Part of what angered elites so much when Chavez came to power was that he was a person who didn’t look like he was ‘fit’ to govern,” said George Ciccariello-Maher, an assistant professor of political science at Drexel University in Philadelphia, is the author of We Created Chávez: A People’s History of the Venezuelan Revolution."

Racism Sin Vergüenza in the Venezuelan Counter-Revolution  3/27/2014 Venezuela Analysis: "The title is “Miko Mandante”, meaning “Ape Commander” to mock the affectionate title “Mi Comandante” used by masses of Venezuelan people.[3] During her rant, Olga never mentioned the race of Venezuela’s poor, or the extreme poor, who in 2003 were 30% of the population and by 2011 were only 6.8%.[4] Chavismo’s accomplishments, especially in reducing poverty, are significant because of the near total correlation between class and race in Venezuela."

Contra el racismo y por amor al Comandante Hugo Chávez se pronuncian en Belém do Pará  1/9/2014 Radio del Sur: "En el marco de las luchas sociales que los pueblos indígenas y afro descendientes de Latinoamérica gestan por el Continente, el Instituto Nangetu de Tradición Afro-religiosa y Desarrollo Social llevó a cabo un evento político cultural en contra del racismo y la intolerancia religiosa a la que son expuestas las comunidades de raíces africanas en Brasil."

Why the Black and Poor Loved Hugo Chávez  3/6/2013 The Root: By: Tonyaa Weathersbee - "The news, at least back in the U.S., was that Chávez had shut down RCTV, and the speculation was that in doing so, he was moving the country toward totalitarianism. But the throngs of black and brown Venezuelans who gathered to support him apparently didn't believe that. Nor did they care about the fate of a station that rarely saw them in a positive light or, for that matter, at all. What they cared about was the fate of a leader who not only acknowledged his own black features and heritage but also saw theirs."

Why the Black and Poor Loved Hugo Chávez  3/6/2013 The Root: by Tonyaa Weathersbee - "But in disrupting my breakfast, the crowd also provided me a picture of the Venezuela that I rarely, if ever, saw on television at home. This was a picture that showed the mostly brown and black and poor who viewed Chávez not as a dictator but as a savior. This was the Venezuela that, not unlike the brown and black and poor people in the United States, the media had reduced to invisibility."

Héctor Gutiérrez: El racismo surgió como una ideología para reforzar el colonialismo  10/25/2012 Centro de Saberes Africanos: "En este orden de ideas, aseveró que el colonialismo se presenta como un proceso que viene a traer orden, progreso y mejor calidad de vida “cuando en realidad los colonizadores se dedican a suprimir costumbres, religiones, culturas, entre otras actividades autóctonas, a los habitantes de los territorios que logran someter”. Citando a Boaventura de Sousa Santos, autor del libro Una epistemología del Sur, Héctor Gutiérrez señaló que el capitalismo y el colonialismo están aún vinculados profundamente aunque las formas de articulación hayan variado a lo largo del tiempo. A modo de reflexión manifestó que “si queremos descolonizarnos hay que reconocer las ancestralidad y la diversidad en la humanidad”."

Venezuela: Promulgada Ley Orgánica contra la Discriminación Racial  12/22/2011 Legado Afro: "El presidente de la República Hugo Chávez promulgó este lunes, en Consejo de Ministros Extraordinario celebrado en el Palacio de Miraflores, la Ley Orgánica contra la Discriminación Racial, la cual fue aprobada por unanimidad por los diputados y diputadas de la Asamblea Nacional (AN) el pasado 22 de agosto."

Alexis Machado "Todo lo malo lo asocian con lo negro"  6/20/2011 Aporrea: con video - "Dentro del marco del IV Foro Internacional de la Afrodescendencia, celebrado en el Hotel Alba en Caracas, desde el día de ayer 18 hasta el 22 de junio, realizamos una entrevista a Alexis Machado, creador del grupo afrodescendiente Elegguá, en Tapipa, Edo. Miranda. Además de ser el productor, Alexis es el prolífico autor de las canciones del repertorio de Elegguá, agrupación que cuenta con innumerables cantos del acontecer venezolano, tanto en lo político como en lo social. Elegguá es un grupo conformado por mujeres de la zona de Tapipa, estado Miranda y han realizado muchas giras internacionales llevando la voz de Venezuela en sus cantos de trabajo, parrandas, folías y otras manifestaciones del canto tradicional con elementos incorporados, propios de la creatividad del grupo."

Durante tres días se realizará en Caracas Foro de la Afrodescendencia dedicado a Haití  6/19/2011 AVN: "El encuentro se incluye dentro de las celebraciones por el Bicentenario de la Firma del Acta de la Independencia de Venezuela, el 5 de julio, fecha en la que se tiene previsto la conformación de la Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y del Caribe (CELAC), organismo de integración y unidad de las regiones al sur del Río Bravo, sin la presencia de Estados Unidos ni Canadá."

Inaugurado en Caracas IV Foro internacional de Afrodescendientes  6/19/2011 Prensa Latina: "En el plano interno mencionó que a nivel nacional está pendiente la adhesión de organizaciones afrovenezolanas al Gran Polo Patriótico, donde confluirán partidos y movimientos a favor de la revolución en desarrollo en este país suramericano."

Venezuela inaugura el Foro de la Afrodescendencia dedicado a Haití  6/19/2011 EFE: ""Este evento lo dedicamos a Haití y vamos a designar una comisión permanente que le haga seguimiento a las promesas que se hicieron con Haití y hay mucha gente que no ha cumplido y es necesario velar porque esas promesas se cumplan", dijo el diputado oficialista y primer vicepresidente del Parlamento, Aristóbulo Istúriz. El legislador denunció, además, que "mucha gente dice que va a ayudar a Haití violándole la soberanía como pueblo".

El racismo de Globovisión hace que los Afro descendientes Venezolanos se unan para protestar  4/30/2011 Aporrea: "En este sentido, vemos con preocupación la embestida mediática de los últimos días, esencialmente un video transmitido por el canal Globovisión (y re-transmitido el día viernes 04 y lunes 07 del presente mes por Venezolana de Televisión en el programa Dando y Dando), donde se evidencia un mensaje de alto significado racista; allí se burlan de la presencia de héroes y heroínas como La Negra Matea, Hipólita, Pedro Camejo y José Leonardo Chirinos, entre otros. Cabe destacar que en el video se comete la violación de otros derechos, por el uso de imágenes de niñas y niños en un colegio, que independientemente de contar con consentimiento de sus padres, madres o representantes (si fuese el caso) fueron utilizadas para transmitir un mensaje racista, lo que agrava la culpa."

Afro-Venezuelans and the Struggle Against Racism  4/29/2011 Venezuela Analysis: By Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the United States - " An estimated 100,000 enslaved Africans were brought to Venezuela between the 16th and 19th centuries. Most were sold to the central coastal states, which operated an agricultural economy based in coffee and cacao. Abolition occurred in 1854, but freedom did not bring equality. Racism continued to flourish in Venezuela throughout most of the 20th century, and African heritage was denied through an emphasis on racial mixing. The mestizo, born of European, Indigenous, and African blood, became a cornerstone of national identity. In this scheme, Blackness was devalued to such an extent that state policies sought to "whiten" the population through European immigration."

Mapa electoral afrovenezolano  9/1/2010 Aporrea: por Jesus Chucho Garcia

El racismo nuestro de cada día  3/21/2010 Aporrea: por Jesus Chucho Garcia

Definiendo al racismo en Venezuela  4/3/2009 Barinas, Venezuela: "No soy afrodecendiente, soy negro simplemente"

Afrovenezolanos Exigen Profundizar la Revolucion  7/11/2008 Prensa Afrovenezolana: "Durante los dias 17 al 20 de julio se estara realizando el II Encuentro Nacional Afrovenezolano, donde participaran delegados y delagadas de catorce estado del pais para elaborar el plan quinquenal 2008/2013 para el desarrollo integral de las comunidades afrodescendiente en el pais."

El racismo de Globovisión hace que los Afro descendientes Venezolanos se unan para protestar  4/30/2008 Aporrea 

The Afrovenezuelan Network and the Paramilitary Menace - La Red Afrovenezolana ante la Amenaza Paramilitar  3/5/2008 AfroCubaWeb 

La Historia de Venezuela plagada de ideas racistas  9/14/2007 Aporrea 

El Racismo en Venezuela  9/3/2007 EL ECO DE LOS PASOS 

Afrovenezolanidad y cultura de resistencia  5/27/2007 La Voz: "Durante todo este mes se han estado realizando una serie de actividades para sensibilizar al país sobre la deuda social acumulada por el Estado venezolano con las comunidades afrovenezolanas Desde su fundación en el mes de junio del año 2000 en San José de Barlovento, la Red de Organizaciones Afrovenezolanas ha venido impulsando seis líneas estratégicas de trabajo en los campos educativos, culturales, jurídicos, indicadores sociales y relaciones internacionales."

Is There a "Black Vote" in Venezuela?  12/4/2006 Venezuela Analysis: "Luis Perdomo, a black Barlovento resident, was denied entry to a Nelson Mandela birthday commemoration last year. Seeing his complexion, a "revolutionary" government official assumed he was a bike messenger and turned him away. Perdomo had been an invited speaker. He eventually gave his speech, during which he also recounted this humiliating incident. But afterward, Venezuela's state TV network refused to interview him, though they spoke to the other presenters, upset that he dared to criticize the government at an event it had organized."

Vargas Llosa: "un nuevo racismo"  10/15/2006 BBC Mundo: publicado 1/06 - "El destacado escritor peruano Mario Vargas Llosa publicó un artículo, reproducido en el periódico argentino La Nación, en el que califica de racistas los planteamientos del presidente electo de Bolivia Evo Morales, del presidente de Venezuela Hugo Chávez y del candidato presidencial peruano Ollanta Humala."

Teaching Race in Venezuela  5/13/2005 Venezuela Analysis: "At the International Afro-Descendent Conference hosted by Venezuela last weekend, Humberto Brown of the Global Afro-Latino and Caribbean Initiative (USA) stated that “Afro Descendents cannot talk about democracy in countries in which racism exists.” The conference was hosted by The Afro-Venezuelan Network and the Ministry of Information and Communication May 6-8 in Caracas. The aim of the conference was to ensure that in the process of creating Latin American unity, the inclusion of historically oppressed sectors (composed mainly of indigenous and Afro-descendent groups) is not overlooked. Participating in discussions were panelists from Venezuela, Brazil, Peru and Colombia, among others, as well as a delegation from the US-based Trans-Africa Forum."

Racism and Racial Divides in Venezuela  5/13/2005 Venezuela Analysis: published 1/21/04, interview with Chucho Garcia

The Chavez Revolution: Venezuela Must Be A Black State Part II  10/10/2004 Black State 

Globovision TV assures African diplomats there's no racism in Venezuela  3/21/2004 Vheadlines: "In the letter, Ravell says he's surprised about the lack of interest and sociological curiosity on the part of "your respectable diplomatic missions to understand the multiples characteristics of our people's identity." However, in an attempted exculpatory, the Globovision media boss laments the fact that the Africans "do not understand the Venezuelan people's sense of humor." "

Racism and Racial Divides in Venezuela  1/21/2004 Venezuela Analysis: "The correspondence between skin color and class membership in Venezuela is quite stunning at times. To confirm this observation, all one has to do is compare middle to upper class neighborhoods, where predominantly lighter colored folks live, with the barrios, which are clearly predominantly inhabited by darker skinned Venezuelans."

Chucho Garcia Interview - Racism and Racial Divides in Venezuela  1/21/2004 Venezuela Analysis: "However, the TransAfrica Forum delegation, in its final press conference in Venezuela, made this its central topic, saying that, yes, racism in Venezuela is alive and well, despite the fact that practically all Venezuelans that they spoke to denied it. They mentioned several incidents that seemed fairly obvious to them, such as news commentators referring to their trip as being a “burned” tour – in a reference to their skin color. Also, a prominent opposition spokesperson referred to the delegation as “monkeys” – a fairly common deprecatory term Venezuelans use for people of African descent. Also, the cartoonist of one of the major newspapers, El Nacional’s Zapata, caricatured their visit, making obvious negative reference to their racial background… The Afro-Venezuelan network has compiled a list of over 1,000 racist comments that have appeared in Venezuela’s media in the past year and half… Unfortunately, all of this is awfully unscientific and will probably thus not convince the majority of Venezuelans who have been raised by the notion that there is no racism in Venezuela. The need to research and find hard data on racism in Venezuela is, however, precisely one of the demands of Venezuela’s Afro-Venezuelan network."

Venezuela in Black and White  11/24/2003 Venezuela Analysis: by Greg Palast - "And that's what it's all about. Race and class. Whatever else you hear about Venezuela, this is the story in a single frame. Like apartheid-riven South Africa, the whites, 20% of the population, have the nation's wealth under lock and key. The Rich Fifth have command of the oil wealth, the best jobs, the English-language lessons, the imported clothes, the vacations in Miami, the plantations. That is, until Hugo Chavez came along."

Venezuelan president stands tall for the Black and Brown  1/29/2003 Final Call: ""The people put Hugo Chavez back into power after the coup," observed Elombe Brath of the Harlem-based Patrice Lumumba Coalition, adding that Mr. Chavez represents a large segment of Venezuelans who are Black. "The same type of movement of Black Panamanians that elected Manuel Noriega in Panama was used to elect Mr. Chavez in Venezuela," Mr. Brath stressed… According to Amy Chua, a Yale professor of law and author of "World on Fire: How Free Market Democracies Breed Ethnic Hatred & Global Instability," says that Mr. Chavez, along with 80 percent of Venezuela’s population, is referred to as "pardo," a term that has class and ethnic overtones that refer loosely to brown-skinned people of Amerindian or African ancestry. She said Venezuela’s economy is controlled by a minority of "cosmopolitan Whites" or "martuanos," the Venezuelan term for persons with European features. Observers say Mr. Chavez promised to "cleanse" his nation of corrupted and co-opted elites who have gained political power… Mr. Raimondo believes the greatest concern of the Western powers is Mr. Chavez’s call for a "configuration" of Latin American states for the new century. Hugo Chavez ’s vision of a rail artery that would join the Caribbean basin through railways and link them with the great rivers, which Mr. Chavez calls the "arteries of continent," is what really scares the U.S. State Department, Mr. Raimondo said. "Hugo Chavez is a Black man who has angered the oil barons of the world such as Vice Pres. Dick Cheney and, of course, Pres. Bush," Viola Plummer of the December 12th Movement said."

Venezuelan plays race card  1/14/2003 Washington Times: the Rev. Moon weighs in - "Though racial labels are nearly meaningless in this nation, in which most people are of mixed African, Native American and European descent, Mr. Chavez's supporters tend to be mostly poorer and darker, while those trying to oust him are mainly descendents of European immigrants, many drawn by Venezuela's post-1930s oil boom… Caracas political scientist Anibal Romero said Mr. Chavez seeks to foment racial tensions. The president "has said many times that he is the son of Indians and black people, trying to convey the message that those are the only legitimate Venezuelans," Mr. Romero said."

As Venezuela Boils, Blacks are Caught in the Middle  1/10/2003 Africana.com: "As Chavez has alienated the predominantly white political and business elite, he has appealed to the poor majority, who are black and Indian. Observers note that Chavez's populist rhetoric has exposed Venezuela's ethnic and racial fault-lines (the country's population is 21 % white, 10 % black, 67 % mestizo, and 2 % indigenous), and deepened the divide between the country's white middle and upper classes and the poor majority — some 80 % of the country's 24 million people live in poverty. With populist rhetoric — not to mention copper skin and curly hair — Chavez is seen as a champion of the country's mestizo population (mixed people of black, Indian and white background) and he often appeals directly to the poor and non-white majority to counter the racism of the elite."

Racist Rage Of The Caracas Elite  12/11/2002 Guardian, UK: "Opposition spokesmen complain that Chavez is a leftist who is leading the country to economic chaos, but underlying the fierce hatred is the terror of the country's white elite when faced with the mobilised mass of the population, who are black, Indian and mestizo. Only a racism that dates back five centuries - of the European settlers towards their African slaves and the country's indigenous inhabitants - can adequately explain the degree of hatred aroused. Chavez - who is more black and Indian than white, and makes no secret of his aim to be the president of the poor - is the focus of this racist rage." El Mico Mono...

(Re)construccion de una identidad negra en Venezuela  10/1/1998 Pouvoirs dans la Caraïbe: "En Venezuela, las culturas étnicas o regionales no pudieron participar plenamente en los proyectos modernizadores promovidos por las élites, pero padecieron de las consecuencias de los mismos. El mito del mestizaje y el de la democracia racial1 se unieron para reducir la cultura popular, especialmente de origen afro, a un espacio folklórico. Además, las regiones de población negra, cercanas en su mayoría las grandes ciudades, han sufrido un violento proceso de éxodo rural que ha debilitado sus identidades. Sin embargo, se ha podido observar a partir de 1945 un nuevo interés hacia las manifestaciones culturales negras y indígenas."
 

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