Venezuela, the Present as Struggle: Voices from the Bolivarian Revolution
Venezuela has been the stuff of frontpage news extravaganzas, especially since the death of Hugo Chávez. With predictable bias, mainstream media focus on violent clashes between opposition and government, coup attempts, hyperinflation, U.S. sanctions, and massive immigration. What is less known, however, is the story of what the Venezuelan people—especially the Chavista masses—do and think in these times of social emergency.
Denying us their stories comes at a high price to people everywhere, because the Chavista bases are the real motors of the Bolivarian revolution. This revolutionary grassroots movement still aspires to the communal path to socialism that Chávez refined in his last years. Venezuela, the Present as Struggle is an eloquent testament to their lives.
In prison, today’s pandemic and shades of yesterday’s: What the fight against COVID can learn from the one against AIDS
A few months back I was part of a cluster of six people called to the prison infirmary to be offered the seasonal flu shot; four of the other five men refused it. Today, as I listen to the loud conversations “on the gate” (people talking back and forth while locked in their cells), I hear considerable sentiment against taking the COVID-19 vaccine when it is offered. (As a result of a court order, it will now be available for New York State prisoners.)
People in more comfortable sectors of society may not understand why such distrust of the medical authorities is so widespread in here, but it’s reality-based. The infamous Tuskegee syphilis study on Black men is but the best known of the plethora of medical experiments on Black and Brown people in and out of prisons, and other vulnerable populations. On top of that, in here we all know some grim examples of the problems with prison medical care.