Going to Venezuela? There are beautiful waterfalls and mountains. There is rich surf, sand, and sun. But nowadays the biggest attraction is revolution.
This October I spent a week in Caracas. That's not much information to work with but for what it's worth, here's what I found and felt.
Toward a New Political System
My first and arguably most personally surprising encounter with the Bolivarian Revolution was at the Ministry for Popular Participation, which was created in accord, I was told, with Chavez's desire "that the people should take power."
I asked the officials we interviewed, "What does that mean, that the people should take power?" After noting thousands of years of "empires obstructing people from participating in politics," all culminating in "the North American empire," the official said the "U.S. has had 200 years of representative government, but in your system people turn over control to others." Instead, in Venezuela, "we humbly are proposing a system where people hold power in a participatory and protagonist democracy. We want a new kind of democracy to attain a new kind of society."
On the wall was a diagram of their aims. It had lots of little circles, then other larger ones in another layer, and so on. The idea, they said, "was to establish numerous local grassroots assemblies or councils of citizens where people could directly express themselves." These local councils would be the foundational components of "a new system of participatory democracy."