People are radicalizing Venezuela's Revolution: An interview with Christina Schiavoni

Schiavoni , Christina; Chowdhury, Farooque; Magdoff, Fred
Date Written:  2017-09-07
Publisher:  Monthly Review
Year Published:  2017
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX21412

In this interview Christina Schiavoni, a researcher and food sovereignty activist, provides a different view of the life of the Venezuelan people than we normally get from the media. The interview covers food and health situations as well as on-going politics and people's participation in the politics.



Every day we are being bombarded by the mainstream media with Venezuela related news. Will you, please, share with us your recent experience in Venezuela?

Christina Schiavoni: Sure. I am a food sovereignty activist and a PhD researcher. I am originally from the US and my research institute is based in the Netherlands, but I have been living in Venezuela over the past year and a half, examining food politics here. It’s been quite the dynamic moment to be here doing this research! One of the best parts about it is that I have been living with friends – a family – in the working-class neighborhood of El Valle, Caracas. This has given me a direct glimpse into the daily realities facing the majority of the population, which is urban and working-class. At the same time, I have had the opportunity to visit other parts of the city and to travel to more than half of Venezuela's twenty-three states to witness other realities.

The main thing I'd like to emphasize about daily life in Caracas is that indeed people are carrying on. Markets are bustling, children are playing in the streets, cultural activities are happening, etc. There is a major disconnect between this reality and what’s presented in the news, which looks as if Caracas is a war zone. Those images, e.g., of masked protestors in direct confrontation with police forces were from demonstrations largely confined to the wealthier areas of the city. For communities such as El Valle, daily life is more or less the same as usual. The only thing is that when the demonstrators blocked the roads, even in other parts of the city, this had ripple effects on transportation more broadly, making it hard for people to get to work, school, appointments, etc. And, then, of course, there were the impacts of ongoing economic destabilization activities, which I will get to shortly.

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