CEDLA guest lecture by Gerardo Gonzalez
Discussant: prof. Javier Corrales (Amherst College)
Abstract: Venezuela remains a deeply divided society. Political polarization is present in everyday life of most Venezuelans and the recent presidential elections (April 2013) left an electoral map that is deeply divided between the government and the opposition parties of the “Unidad”. Since 2006 the government has encouraged the formation’of consejos comunales, neighbourhood-based elected councils that try to implement local development projects with resources from the central government. While the more than 18,000 consejos comunales have stimulated citizens’ participation for local solutions, research points at a lack of coordination between local authorities and these citizens, as well as political polarization in the consejos.
In his lecture, Gerardo Gonzalez will start by showing the perceptions of Venezuelans on a number of social, economic and political problems, which indicate and explain the current polarization. The second part of his lecture will focus on the dynamics of the consejos comunales, and their importance for participatory politics and the upcoming municipal elections.
Gerardo Gonzalez is a Sociologist (Universidad Central de Venezuela) with a Masters in Latin American Studies from CEDLA. His main areas of research are public policies intertwined with civil society, survey studies and political ethnography. His academic activities have included Professor at the School of Sociology and the School of Geography at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, Postgraduate Professor at the Universidad Católica Andres Bello and Postgraduate Professor of Public Policy Analysis at IESA and Monteávila University. He currently works at Consultores21, a think thank for social and electoral analysis in Caracas.