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Venezuela: the conjuncture

16 March, 2017

While the death of Hugo Chávez in 2013 shook the arguably-revolutionary social process which he led, the United Venezuelan Socialist Party (PSUV) remains a formidable force in national politics. But the right-wing opposition’s victory in the 2015 national assembly elections consolidated its return to electoral politics, showing that reports of the demise of the right Democratic Action (AD) party were, to paraphrase Mark Twain, somewhat exaggerated.

What are the social, political and economic features of this conservative restoration? What accounts for the increasing unpopularity of the Maduro presidency? How does the Venezuelan conjuncture relate to the retreat of the Pink Tide era in Latin America? How accurate are media representations of a “failed state” with a humanitarian crisis? How might president Trump’s regime approach its oil-rich neighbour?

Join our panel of established and emerging scholars to debate the Venezuelan conjuncture:

Luis Angosto-Ferrández teaches Anthropology and Spanish and Latin American Studies at the University of Sydney. He has extensive fieldwork experience in Latin America and Spain, and lived, worked and researched in Venezuela for nearly a decade, teaching at the Chávez-founded Universidad Bolivariana de Venezuela (UBV). He is author of Venezuela Reframed: Bolivarianism, Indigenous Peoples and Socialisms of the Twenty-First Century (2015), editor of Democracy, Revolution and Geopolitics in Latin America: Venezuela and the international politics of discontent (2014) and co-editor of Anthropologies of Value (2016).


Emma To holds a B. Social Science (Hons) from the University of Sydney, where she is a PhD student in the Department of Political Economy (DPE). Her thesis addresses the challenges of implementing participatory democracy in Venezuela. Her research interests include worker self-management, the political economy of oil, and China-Venezuela relations. She has worked as a tutor and lecturer in the DPE, and as a researcher for NGOs.

Manuel Sutherland is a Venezuelan political economist who has taught at the UBV, been a visiting professor at various Latin American universities, and co-founded the Centro de Investigación y Formación Obrera (CIFO: Centre for Research and Workers’ Training, Caracas). His research focuses on the revolutionary transformation of the working class and destruction of the political and economic power of the capitalist class; alongside researcher militancy as an integral part of the seizure of power and the construction of a socialist society. His articles have appeared in journals like Tensões Mundiais (Brazil), and regularly on http://www.aporrea.org/, http://www.rebelion.org/ and http://www.sinpermiso.info/.

Carolina Lobo-Guerrero (chairperson) is completing her Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney. Previously she worked as financial analyst and project manager for a renewable energy company and at a boutique investment bank in Bogotá, Colombia. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Economics, Legal Studies and History.

Location: New Law Seminar Room 105, New Law School, University of Sydney

Contact:Robert Austin