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Venezuela has become a huge source of hope and inspiration for the Left throughout the world. Some see it as a shining example of how to begin building a successful socialist state, but Western leaders see it as a dangerous enemy and accuse Chavez of being a dictator. This book reveals the truth by examining the country from the ground up. Iain Bruce explores the political changes underway in Venezuela at the level of the lives of ordinary people. Through grassroots investigations and extended interviews, he explores a series of key transformations in Venezuela: a new social ecomy around a network of co-operatives; workplace democracy; popular education; radical agrarian reform; participatory budgets and community planning. The result is a clear picture of everyday life in Venezuela. No other book on the country has this level of detail; it will be a key text for students of Latin American politics and social movements and of interest to anyone following the fortunes of the Bolivarian Revolution.
Iain Bruce is a British journalist and film-maker. He has made documentaries for Channel 4 and the BBC. During 2004 and 2005 he was BBC correspondent in Caracas, Venezuela. Currently he is an adviser to Telesur, the Latin American news channel based in Venezuela. He is also author of the The Porto Alegre Alternative: Direct Democracy in Action (Pluto Press, 2004).