Venezuela: Witness Participatory Democracy in Action
November 9th to 17th, 2014
In the past 15 years, the people of Venezuela have participated in 19 free, fair, and democratic elections. After the untimely 2013 passing of President Hugo Chávez, Venezuelans elected Nicolas Maduro to replace him and ratified the ruling socialist party in nationwide municipal elections. But Venezuela’s experiment with participatory democracy isn’t just about voting often. This year, with no election in sight, thousands upon thousands of organized communities decided it was time to form Communes, consolidating their grassroots Communal Councils into larger, more complex, democratic spaces. 795 Communes are now registered with the National Government, and the goal is to build 3,000 by 2019. Meanwhile, the Venezuelan opposition openly rejects the growing “Communal State” and blames the Bolivarian Government for inflation, the scarcity of basic goods, and violence. Deadly protests earlier this year demonstrate that a better understanding of Venezuela’s social, economic, and political transformations is urgently needed.
This trip will familiarize participants with the ways and means of Venezuelan democracy, providing a unique opportunity to witness the coming together of popular public policies and grassroots organization. Delegates will learn about, and visit, a range of social programs known as the Misiones or Missions – the National Government’s way of implementing the universal right to food, housing, health, education, gainful employment, information, and leisure. Participants will also meet with members of the country’s opposition, including students and journalists, allowing for an integral understanding of Venezuela’s ongoing struggle to heal wounds of the past.
Cost: $1,150 which includes full program in Venezuela, airport pick up and drop off, in country transportation, bi-lingual trip leaders and interpretation, 2 meals a day, background reading materials, donations to Venezuelan organizations, and lodging. $150 deposit due by October 12th, 2014. Airfare to Caracas NOT INCLUDED.
Contact: Witness for Peace Southwest | firstname.lastname@example.org | 805-669-VIVA | www.wfpsw.org |