Popular Protests in Venezuela

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Curated by Scott Doebler

Thematic Collections are assortments of past and recently released articles in HAHR about key issues, events, individuals, or historiographical trends. These collections can be used as gateways into a specific historical subject, demonstrations of methodology, or sources for classroom discussion.

Venezuela’s ongoing political drama, popular protests, sustained humanitarian crisis, and growing diaspora have captured the world’s attention. The starkness of the current crisis contrasts markedly with what was until recently a wealthy economy buoyed by colossal oil reserves. The current political convulsions are far from singular in Venezuela’s history; the Hispanic American Historical Review has published numerous articles about popular protests throughout Latin America, including many in Venezuela’s history. Presented here are four such articles that explore different outpourings of popular protest in Venezuela against the powers that be—some violent, some peaceful, and some a complicated mixture. The authors investigate the individual conditions that provoked the contestations, often placing them within larger national and global contexts. The articles not only showcase varied local situations spaced over centuries, thus transcending the “colonial” and “modern” divide, but they also represent changing interpretations of popular protests themselves and their role in society.

“Civil Disorders and Popular Protests in Late Colonial New Granada,” by Anthony McFarlane (1984)

Written as the social history turn was in full swing, McFarlane investigates who participated in “civil disorders” and why by focusing on lesser-known (at the time) challenges to aspects of colonial rule.

“Indian Rebellion and Bourbon Reform in New Granada: Riots in Pasto, 1780–1800,” by Rebecca Earle (1993)

This study of two rebellions at the turn of the nineteenth century looks at the weakness of state control over distant populations and their continued expectation of autonomy.

“Public Land Settlement, Privatization, and Peasant Protest in Duaca, Venezuela, 1870–1936,” by Doug Yarrington (1994)

Focusing on understudied Duaca, Venezuela, Yarrington follows changing land ownership patterns and its consequences.

“A Weapon as Powerful as the Vote”: Urban Protest and Electoral Politics in Venezuela, 1978–1983,” by Alejandro Velasco (2010)

This article examines how popular sectors held democracy accountable for representing their interests by hijacking public property.

Top image: A protester wearing an Anonymous mask and lifting a Venezuelan flag, March 16, 2014. Photo by Jamez42. Licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication. (Find the original here.)

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