The Road Ahead!
 Which Way Venezuela?


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An Evening with Greg Wilpert

On the first anniversary of Noam Chomsky's lecture "What's Next: Creating Another World in a Time of War, Empire and Devastation," encuentro 5 is proud to host Greg Wilpert in a timely examination of the revolution in Venezuela.

The Book

Less than 5 years ago, despairing of ever taking power, many on the left began to theorize about making social change without using the levers of state power. With the deepening of the Bolivarian Revolution, that has changed irrevocably. The revolutionary coalition around Hugo Chavez now wields state power as it transforms Venezuelan society with a profound vision of social justice.

In his recent book, Changing Venezuela by Taking Power, Greg Wilpert shows demonstrate how the Bolivarian revolution evolved through a cycle of reform and reaction--with counter-revolutionary mobilization spurring a radicalization of the process.

Taking us further into the process, Wilpert reviews the constitutional reforms that define new powers for the grassroots and redefine relationships within the state, between the state and society.

In a more ambitious turn, Changing Venezuela teases out the implications of the experiment for broader social change and for the rest of Latin America.

Our Speaker

Gregory Wilpert is a German-American freelance writer, sociologist (Ph.D., 1994, Brandeis University), and internationally recognized analyst of Venezuelan politics who has been living and working in Venezuela since 2000. A former Fulbright scholar, Mr. Wilpert has taught at the Central University of Venezuela and since April 2002 has been writing about Venezuelan affairs for a wide variety of publications. His articles have appeared in New Left Review, NACLA Report on the Americas, Socialism and Democracy, and Z Magazine. He currently edits the well-known webzine

Discussion Format

After a brief introduction by Kendra Fehrer, Greg WIlpert will speak for 20 - 40 minutes about the recent events in Venezuela. Thereafter Jorge Marin and Elena Blanco will join Wilpert in discussing the revolution. This 20 minute discussion will be followed by an open discussion period. Finally, the evening will  close with an informal discussion and wine-and-cheese-style reception.

Discussant: Elena Blanco

Elena is a Venezuelan activist who has been involved with the Bolivarian process since early on. While working in Boston at City Life/Vida Urbana, Elena organized one of the first pro-Bolivarian events in the city. Soon after, many of the attendees formed the Martin Luther King Jr. Bolivarian Circle  of Boston.

Elena is closely connected to Venezuela through her politically engaged family, and through her scholarly community research in the rural Merida, her home state. While working on her Masters' degree at UMass Lowell, she organized a short seriesof documentaries about Venezuela process. She currently works at a pro-immigrant organization and plans to return to Venezuela to work in rural communities.

Discussant: Jorge Marin


Music: Los Sinfronteras

The musical poetry of Pedro Robledos and Simon Rios


Purchase the Book Online

Visit Verso Press

Praise for Changing Venezuela

This fascinating study—deeply informed, penetrating in its analysis, comprehensive in scope—explores the historical and socioeconomic roots of the Venezuelan initiatives of recent years, the conflicts they have engendered, the achievements and pitfalls, the animating ideals of a genuinely participatory society, and the prospects for realizing them in ways that, if successful, might have significant impact not only for Latin America but well beyond.

- Noam Chomsky


No Volveran - The Venezuelan Revolution

Hegemony or Survival: Hugo Chavez at the UN, 2006

Now the People Have Awoken