Barrio Rising: Urban Popular Politics and the Making of Modern Venezuela (2015)

In previous posts I have spoken about Venezuela.

Barrio Rising: Urban Popular Politics and the Making of Modern Venezuela (2015) is a valuable additional resource regarding the history of Venezuela.

A publisher’s blurb (which I’ve broken into shorter paragraphs) for the book reads:

In the mid-1950s, in an effort to modernize Venezuela, the military government razed dozens of slums in the heart of the capital Caracas, replacing them with massive buildings to house the city’s working poor.

The project remained unfinished when the dictatorship fell on January 23, 1958, and in a matter of days city residents illegally occupied thousands of apartments, squatted on green spaces, and renamed the neighborhood to honor the emerging democracy: the 23 de Enero (January 23).

Over the next thirty years, through eviction efforts, guerrilla conflict, state violence, internal strife, and official neglect, inhabitants of the barrio learned to use their strategic location and symbolic tie to the promise of democracy in order to demand a better life.

Granting legitimacy to the state through the vote but protesting its failings with violent street actions when necessary, they laid the foundation for an expansive understanding of democracy – both radical and electoral – whose features still resonate today.

[End of text]

Ken Greenberg

I am reminded of Ken Greenberg’s overview of the rise of “modern movement” in architecture, outlined briefly in a previous post entitled: Ken Greenberg (2011) talks about early urban planning in Chicago.

As noted in the above-mentioned post Greenberg observes, in Walking Home: The Life and Lessons of a City Builder (2011), that in the aftermath of the European Industrial Revolution, which gave rise to deplorable living conditions in industrial cities, a “modern movement” in architecture emerged.

He characterizes the movement (p. 22) as “an intellectual time bomb with a very long fuse” fueled by good intentions.

The modern movement in architecture was motivated by what Greenberg calls (p. 22) “a sincere humanist urge” to address the substandard housing, overcrowding, pollution, noise, soot, disease, and other features of industrial cities that emerged after the Industrial Revolution.

The modern movement was based on the premise, Greenberg adds, that the methodical logic that had successfully applied inventive engineering to industry could also be applied to how people lived their lives.


A March 18, 2016 Globe and Mail article is entitled: “Two South American leaders in a race to the bottom.”

A March 25, 2016 article is entitled: “Overthrowing Dilma Rousseff: The judicial coup against President Dilma Rousseff is the culmination of the deepest political crisis in Brazil for 50 years.”

An April 18, 2016 Reuters article is entitled: “In crushing defeat, Brazil’s Rousseff moves close to impeachment.”

An April 30, 2016 CBC article is entitled: “Venezuela at risk of unravelling as economic, energy turmoil deepens: Violent protests follow decision to ration energy, cut work week for public employees.”

An April 29, 2016 CBC article is entitled: “Documentary exposes human cost of cleaning up Brazil’s favelas before Olympics.”

A June 2, 2016 Brookings Institution article is entitled: “Should Venezuela seek international assistance? Ways out of the economic and humanitarian crisis.”

A June 14, 2016 Americas Quarterly article is entitled: “Venezuela: Is This the Final Straw?”

A June 19, 2016 New York Times article is entitled: “Venezuelans Ransack Stores as Hunger Grips the Nation.”

A June 28, 2016 Washington Post article is entitled: “Venezuelans are storming supermarkets and attacking trucks as food supplies dwindle.”

A July 20, 2016 Brookings Institution article is entitled: “Venezuela in Crisis.”

Hannah Dreier ‏@hannahdreier has posted a Tweet:

What’s it like to live in crisis-hit Venezuela? We made this interactive to give a sense of how it feels day-to-day:

Venezuela Undone: A Year of Chaos in Tweets

A Feb. 17, 2017 Columbia Journalism Review article is entitled: “What does Trump have in common with Hugo Chavez? A media strategy.”

An April 21, 2017 Associated Press article is entitled: “Venezuela officials say at least 12 people killed overnight.”

A May 6, 2017 New York Times article is entitled: “In Venezuela’s Chaos, Elites Play a High-Stakes Game for Survival.”

A May 22, 2017 CBC article is entitled: “The struggle to put Venezuela back on the path to economic health: Don Pittis: Food riots, looting threaten what should be one of the world’s richest countries.”

An Aug. 2, 2017 AP News article is entitled: “Departing AP reporter looks back at Venezuela’s slide.”

A Dec. 14, 2018 Associated Press article is entitled: “UN: Venezuela exodus likely to swell to 5.3 million in 2019.”

A Dec. 18, 2018 Guardian article is entitled: “The fallen metropolis: the collapse of Caracas, the jewel of Latin America: Once a thriving, glamorous city, Venezuela’s capital is buckling under hyperinflation, crime and poverty.”


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