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February 5, 2020, 7:00 PM – ROCLA Program:  “Dangerous Times: Venezuela and the Americas in the Trump Era,” presented by Professor Donald Kingsbury of the University of Toronto, 7 PM. Downtown Presbyterian Church, 121 North Fitzhugh Street. This is Part II in the ROCLA series on Venezeula. RSVP on Facebook

In the early 21st century, Venezuela was the first in a so-called ‘Pink Tide’ of left-of-center presidencies that swept Latin America. Responding to crises of economic restructuring in the 1980s and 1990s, and spurred by a boom in the global price of commodities, Pink Tide states invested heavily in social infrastructure and human development, increasing access to dignified housing, healthcare, food security, education, and political representation for marginalized peoples across the continent. Beyond the more equitable distribution of export revenues, Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution was driven by direct and transformative citizen engagement and the proliferation of novel forms of political participation. This inclusive, democratic, creative, and transformative grassroots collective action animated the Bolivarian Revolution, as the self-directed empowerment of poor and racialized peoples transformed Venezuela from the bottom up.

By the 2016 election of Donald Trump in the United States, however, local, regional, and global conditions that allowed for the social transformation of Venezuela shifted dramatically. An on-going regional reactionary counteroffensive has reduced the diplomatic space for progressive change throughout Latin America. What happened? Donald V. Kingsbury will discuss how and why the prospects for revolutionary change in Latin America have dimmed considerably.

About Donald Kingsbury


Don Kingsbury

Mr. Kingsbury is a lecturer in Latin American Studies and Political Science at the University of Toronto and Interim Director of the Munk One Program at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. He is a member of the Executive Board of the Canadian Association of Latin American and Caribbean Studies and the author of Only the People Can Save the People: Constituent Power, Revolution, and Counterrevolution in Venezuela (SUNY, 2018), which examines the history and practice of direct democracy in contemporary Venezuela and the challenges egalitarian social movements face in the context of state power and globalization. His recent research focuses on how extractive industries shape states and citizens, opening and closing opportunities for more inclusive, equal, and just politics.

Only the People can Save the people book cover