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Mural Messages from Venezuela: El Presidente Hugo Chávez Frías y La Revolución Bolivariana
MRIC 2005/06

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"Mural Messages from Venezuela: El Presidente Hugo Chávez Frías y La Revolución Bolivariana"

October 18th
Dale Graden - History

Abstract: Elected to the presidency of Venezuela in 1998 and 2000, survivor of an attempted coup d’état on an April weekend in 2002, President Hugo Chávez has been an outspoken advocate of social reform in his country and other countries in South America and the Caribbean Basin. These include urban and rural land reform, increased taxation on oil companies operating in Venezuela, the creation of “Bolivarian universities,” improved health care and access to housing in lower-class barrios, among others. In the words of President Chávez, “Socialism is love. We must reclaim socialism as a thesis, a project and a path, but a new type of socialism, a humanist one, which puts humans and not machines or the state ahead of everything.” Murals have informed and entertained observers around the world for the past 31,000 years. Since 1900, numerous talented muralists have expressed political and social ideals through images and phrases, particularly in South America. In countries where many citizens have had minimal formal education, murals are a rich and influential form of communication. Eighty percent of Venezuela’s 25 million inhabitants are marginalized. Murals painted on walls in cities and pueblos throughout Venezuela send messages to these people and to the world.

Suggested Readings: Alma Guillermoprieto, "Don't Cry For Me, Venezuela," New York Review of Books, 6 October 2005

Alma Guillermoprieto, "The Gambler," New York Review of Books, 20 October 2005

John Dinges, "Soul Search," Columbia Journalism Review, July/August, 2005

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