Venezuelan Studies

A Section of the Latin American Studies Association

Section Annual Reports

Annual Report 2021-2022 (May 2022)

Prepared by Raul Sanchez Urribarri (Chair) and Maria Puerta-Riera (Secretary)

The business meeting of the Section on Venezuelan Studies (SVS) was held on May 7 (Thursday) from 06:00pm - 07:45pm (PST), via Zoom, starting with an attendance of about fifteen (15) members. Chair Raúl Sánchez Urribarri presided the session.

The following points were discussed in the meeting:

1. Membership

The Chair reported that the Section on Venezuelan Studies has 118 registered members (as of March 31, 2022). This is an increase of fourteen (14) members compared to 2021, when the Section had one hundred and four (104) section members. However, the Section sponsored only two panels for LASA 2022. The Chair highlighted this significant increase of membership numbers in the last year, despite ongoing challenges. The reasons can be attributed to Venezuela’s ongoing relevance, the success of LASA Venezuela 2021, as well as the increasing scholarly visibility of our membership. The attending members also discussed the continued goal of increasing membership and achieve three panels by next year.

2. Treasury Report

The Chair reported that, for May 2022, the Section had US$ 4521.53. available in its funds for different activities. This balance does not include the prizes awarded by the Section in 2022. This represents an increase of $1,200. Expenses pending for 2022:

• Best Paper Award

• LASA Venezuela

• 2021-2022 renewals of Venezuela-based scholars

• 2021-2022 renewals of Venezuela-based scholars

3- Composition of the Executive Committee of the Section on Venezuelan Studies (SVS)

The composition of the Section Executive Committee was renewed in May 2022, with the following composition as of May 31st 2022:

  • Chair SVS María Isabel Puerta-Riera (2022-2024)
  • Secretaria SVS María Teresa Vera-Rojas (2022-2024) 

Nuevos Miembros del Comité (2022-2024)

  • María del Pilar García-Guadilla 
  • Magdalena López
  • Magaly Sánchez 
  • Stefanía Vitale 

Miembros del Comité (2021-2023)

  • Francisco Alfaro Pareja 
  • Miguel Ángel Martínez Meucci 
  • Antulio Rosales 
4. Information on LASA 2021 Section Panels

The Section on Venezuelan Studies sponsored the following panels, corresponding to the LASA Meeting of 2022.

For 2022, the SVS sponsored two (2) panels:

194 // SEC - LASA Section Panel - Thursday, 02:00pm - 03:30pm

Exploring the Process of Authoritarian Consolidation in Venezuela: the Role of Parties, Society, Discourse, and the State.

724 // SEC - LASA Section Panel - Saturday, 10:00am - 11:30am

Venezuela: A Case of Authoritarian Consolidation?

Special thanks to all SVS members involved in organizing these panels

Comment on Track Chairs / Panels for 2023

5. LASA VENEZUELA 2021

Our Jornadas took place June 28-30, 2021, and it was a major success. Special thanks to the organizing committee, coordinated by our colleague Magdalena Lopez, and a hard-working staff based in Venezuela, who went out of their way to ensure that the event take place successfully.

The Meeting was co-sponsored by several Venezuelan Universities/Institutes, and counted with the generous support of WOLA and Tulane University.

Hybrid: Online, and present in Merida, Caracas and Cumana.

• Over 180 panelists/presenters from a variety of countries in Latin America, the U.S., Europe and beyond.

• 35 panels, 7 round-tables, 3 keynotes and 4 cultural activities in the Social Sciences and the Humanities

6. 2021 AWARD - BEST JOURNAL ARTICLES

Best article on Venezuela (Humanidades):

• “El secreto de la tierra: Entangled Poetics and the Venezuelan Amazon in Una ojeada al mapa de Venezuela (1939), by Enrique Bernardo Núñez” - Gianfranco Selgas, Stockholm University.

• “Plagiarism and Authorship in Turn-of-the-Century” by Nathalie Bouzaglo, Northwestern University

• Special (Honorary) Mention: “A ‘People to Come’: Agricultural Crisis, Immigrant Settlements, and Manumission in Fermín Toro’s Los mártires” by Felipe Martínez Pinzón, Brown University.

Best article on Venezuela (Social Sciences):

• "Orchestrating silence, winning the votes: Explaining variation in media freedom during elections" by Kyong Mazzaro, CUNY.

• Best Book Award Fernando Coronil is pending, and will be called and decided over the Summer (2022)

• At some point we discussed the possibility of giving other awards, including a life-achievement award and a best thesis award.

7. COLLABORATION WITH THE IIE

On December 8th, 2021, the SVS in alliance with the Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE-SRF) hosted the virtual panel: Venezuela's Higher Education Crisis: A bilingual discussion. The webinar was an opportunity to highlight impacts of Venezuela’s economic and political crises on the higher education system, introducing IIE-SRF’s efforts to help Venezuelan scholars resume their teaching and research, particularly within the Latin America region. On this occasion, an IIE-SRF fellow from Venezuela discussed his fellowship experience in Chile, offering insights on the challenges of the largest recorded migration crisis in the Americas.

8. LASA 2023 – VANCOUVER (HYBRID) CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

Annual Report –2020-2021 (July 2021)

Prepared by Raul Sanchez Urribarri (Chair) and Maria Puerta-Riera (Secretary)

The business meeting of the Section on Venezuelan Studies (SVS) was held on May 27 (Thursday) from 07:00pm - 08:45pm, via Zoom, starting with an attendance of about fifteen (15) members. Chair Raúl Sánchez Urribarri presided the session.

The following points were discussed in the meeting:

1. Membership

The Chair reported that the Section on Venezuelan Studies has 104 registered members (as of March 31, 2021). This means ten (10) members less than in 2019, time when the Section had already experienced a decline of sixteen (16) members less than the prior year (2018). This resulted in the Section sponsoring only two panels for LASA 2020. The Chair commented that the decline could be attributed to a wide range of reasons, including the worsening of the complex humanitarian emergency and economic crisis in Venezuela (which made it extremely difficult for several colleagues based in Venezuela to renew their membership); the COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic uncertainty, and the challenges experienced by the Annual Meeting of LASA in 2020, among other motives. The participants also discussed the goal of increasing their membership and the different ways that this could be accomplished, having as explicit goals: a) Recruiting enough members to increase the list of Section-sponsored panels to three (3) panels, and b) explore ways of supporting Venezuelan colleagues to join the Section, building on past efforts to assist Venezuelan members in recent years.

2. Treasury Report

The Chair reported that, for May 2021, the Section had US$ 3,361.53 available in its funds for different activities. Expenses pending for 2021 include the Best Paper award, whilst it also hoped to increase the funds via the 2021-2022 renewals. Different ideas were discussed to increase funds and help enhance the Section’s financial situation in order to continue accomplishing its annual tasks and pursue other goals, such as crowdfunding initiatives and the possibility of establishing collaborations with non-profit organizations – among other initiatives.

3- Composition of the Executive Committee of the Section on Venezuelan Studies (SVS)

The composition of the Section Executive Committee was renewed in June 2021, following the nomination of Antulio Rosales as new ordinary member of the Executive Committee (EC), and the nomination of Francisco Alfaro Pareja and Miguel Ángel Martínez-Meucci to continue as ordinary members of the EC. Since there were only three nominations (for the same number of positions available), based on LASA guidelines there was no need to organise an election. The new composition of the EC was announced to the members on June 13, 2021:

  • Raul Sanchez Urribarri (Until 2022) Chair
  • Maria Puerta-Riera (Until 2022) Secretary

EC Members (2020-2022)

  • Armando Chaguaceda
  • John Polga-Hecimovich
  • Maria Pilar Garcia Guadilla
  • Magdalena López

EC Members (2021-2023)

  • Francisco Alfaro Pareja
  • Miguel Ángel Martínez Meucci
  • Antulio Rosales
4 – Awards of the Section on Venezuelan Studies

Pending from the previous year, in September 2020 the Section first awarded the Fernando Coronil Best Book Prize for 2018-2019. A Committee formed by Lisa Blackmore (University of Essex), Chair; Javier Guerrero (Princeton University) and Kirk Hawkins (Brigham Young University), awarded the best book prize to:

“Tides of Revolution: Information, Insurgencies, and the Crisis of Colonial Rule in Venezuela” by Cristina Soriano (2018)

The Verdict was as follows:

“The central question of this book is a fascinating one, which despite its focus on colonial Venezuela, traces the formation of an information society, asking how political sensibilities are formed and how ideas circulate and are exchanged to create public spheres that agglutinate to enact radical change. This approach takes into account territorial formation (the porosity of coastal towns), sociocultural practices of information exchange, and the limitations of media technologies (the lack of printing presses and limited literacy in the broad population), finding ways to understand how these affordances and apparent shortcomings enabled flows of ideas that created momentum for emancipatory political struggle. This is a timely topic and one that also encompasses a broad range of political actors by tracing and discussing different uprisings across the country.”

In its Business Meeting, the Section announced the winner again and congratulated Professor Soriano again for her achievement.

Later in the year (after the meeting), in June 2021, the Section proceeded to organize and announce the Section Award to Best Paper presented or published in the previous two years.

SVS Section Award to Best Paper (Humanities). A Committee formed by Vicente Lecuna (Chair), Giovanna Montenegro e Irina Raquel Troconis Gonzalez agreed that to give the prize to two different articles:

“El secreto de la tierra: Entangled Poetics and the Venezuelan Amazon in Una ojeada al mapa de Venezuela (1939), by Enrique Bernardo Núñez” authored by Gianfranco Selgas, Stockholm University, and:

“Plagiarism and Authorship in Turn-of-the-Century” by Nathalie Bouzaglo, Northwestern University.

There was also an honorable mention awarded to a “A ‘People to Come’: Agricultural Crisis, Immigrant Settlements, and Manumission in Fermín Toro’s Los mártires” by Felipe Martínez Pinzón, Brown University.

This was the official verdict (in Spanish):

“El secreto de la tierra: Entangled Poetics and the Venezuelan Amazon in Una ojeada al mapa de Venezuela (1939), by Enrique Bernardo Núñez” propone una lectura del libro del novelista y periodista venezolano, desde una mirada crítica que se enfoca en lo que Gianfranco Selgas denomina “entagled poetics” concepto inspirado en el trabajo teórico de Karen Barad sobre las intra-relaciones que emergen entre agencias que se presumen individuales y aisladas pero que se revelan conectadas, entrelazadas en operaciones en las que lo humano y lo no-humano entran en contacto y fricción. Dicho concepto le permite a Selgas pensar en la metáfora “el secreto de la tierra” como punto de partida en el trabajo de Núñez para abrir el debate sobre la identidad nacional, concebida esta ya no desde los procesos de modernización, explotación petrolera, y extractivismo, ni desde la geografía que dichos procesos trazan, sino desde el Amazonas venezolano como territorio que vibra con la posibilidad de otras sensibilidades no antropocéntricas en las que el espacio se revela como agente y ya no como paisaje o como recurso/promesa de la modernización por venir. El análisis agudo y detallado de varios fragmentos de Una ojeada alimenta una apuesta teórica que constituye una importante y urgente invitación a repensar los límites y los puntos ciegos del territorio nacional tal y como aparece representado en el canon de la literatura venezolana, en el cual, como apunta Selgas, las complejidades, potencialidades, y provocaciones ontológicas de espacios como el Amazonas se han aplanado o invisibilizado en el intento de representar y, hasta cierto punto, facilitar el camino de la nación hacia el progreso. En este sentido, este trabajo es una contribución invaluable cuyas herramientas teóricas no sólo traen a la luz textos que desdibujan de manera productiva y necesaria el mapa venezolano, sino que además insertan la realidad venezolana (geográfica, literaria) en un debate global sobre formas de agenciamiento, configuraciones de lo común, nuevos materialismos y ecocrítica.

“Plagiarism and Authorship in Turn-of-the-Century” es un artículo importante, no solo sobre las nociones de derecho de autor y de plagio, sino también sobre la situación de esos temas dentro de un intercambio cultural transatlántico que también hace pensar en el asunto de la transcripción de manuscritos coloniales. Bouzaglo muestra cómo Rafael Bolívar Coronado, autor del “Alma Llanera”, segundo himno nacional de Venezuela, se convierte en un “Maestro transatlántico del plagio” que además intentó reconstruir una historia colonial de Venezuela a su manera. Bolívar Coronado “parodiaba el canon”, y además se burlaba de los archivos y de la palabra escrita como repositorio de la historia colonial. Es decir, el artículo hace un aporte extraordinario no solo para repensar el tema del derecho de autor en sí, sino también por su discusión sobre la intertextualidad y la figura del autor como propietario único de su producción intelectual. Bouzaglo hace todo esto pensando en cómo estos debates tocan la historia de la literatura y las fuentes de la historiografía venezolana.

En “A ‘People to Come’: Agricultural Crisis, Immigrant Settlements, and Manumission in Fermín Toro’s Los mártires” Martínez Pinzón hace un excelente trabajo de archivo en el que apreciamos particularmente cómo se usa la noción de "A people to come" de Deleuze para comentar el deseo de Toro y otros mantuanos de controlar, desde una perspectiva racial, a los manumisos/incontables de Venezuela. Además, pensamos que es crucial la discusión sobre cómo se usó la “Black Counter Legend” para invitar a inmigrantes alemanes e ingleses a poblar a Venezuela (esos que “han traído la prosperidad a los Estados Unidos”) y el uso de Mary Louise Pratt para hablar de la imaginación de un territorio en donde los negros, mulatos y pardos no cuentan. La investigación de Martínez Pinzón sobre Toro, y otras figuras como Codazzi, es decisiva e imprescindible para pensar cómo en el siglo XIX no solo se imaginó el territorio rural de Venezuela como otro espacio simplemente en blanco en el mapa, donde alemanes e ingleses podrían llegar, sino que también se les invitó expresamente a estos a través de proyectos cartográficos incluidos en publicaciones como El Liceo venezolano.

SVS Section Award to Best Paper (Social Sciences). A Committee formed by John Polga-Hecimovich (Chair), Maryhen Jiménez Morales and Antulio Rosales, agreed to give the prize to the following article:

VERDICT

Social Sciences

Winner: "Orchestrating silence, winning the votes: Explaining variation in media freedom during elections" by Kyong Mazzaro (The Graduate Center, CUNY)

This was the official verdict:

This sophisticated study shows how electoral incentives shape spatio-temporal patterns of government-led restrictions on media freedom. Using microdata on government attempts to prevent the dissemination of information from Venezuela between 2002 and 2015, the author shows how electoral competition at the local and national levels shape patterns of government-led restrictions on media freedom. At the local level, the author finds that differences in opposition strength incentivize semi-authoritarian governments to use restrictions to demobilize opponents where they are strongest, target marginal districts during local elections, and maintain dominance in their strongholds. At the national level, the author shows that as threats to the government party’s primacy increase, so does the effect of local electoral competition on the hazard of restrictions.

The paper is theoretically rich and makes numerous contributions to Venezuelan studies as well as the social sciences. On one hand, it grapples with a dimension of Venezuela's democratic erosion, explaining how and why electoral competition influenced the timing and location of restrictions on media freedom in the 2000s and 2010s. At the same time, it also engages the broader social science literature on the media, electoral studies, and democracy by illuminating patterns of government attempts to restrict media freedom. Furthermore, the paper is empirically and methodologically rigorous, impressively marshaling original data to systematically test a number of hypotheses through a series of hazard models.

5. Information on LASA 2021 Section Panels

The Section on Venezuelan Studies sponsored the following panels, corresponding to the LASA Meetings of 2020 and 2021. Additionally, the Section commented that there was still a substantial interest in Venezuelan studies across different sections.

Venezuela 2020: Evidencias de una Emergencia Humanitaria Compleja

Sponsor: Venezuelan Studies

Session Organizer: José Manuel Puente (IESA)

Chair: Magaly Sanchez

Discussant: Miguel Angel Martínez Meucci, Universidad Austral de Chile

Panelists:

  • Venezuelan State-Society “Invisible” Relations, and their Consequences on the Massive Exit of Population: Magaly Sanchez
  • La Transición Venezolana desde la Optica Democrática: El Autoritarismo Inestable de Maduro: M M. McCarthy, George Washington University
  • La Polarización Externa de la Crisis Venezolana: El Quinteto EE. UU., UE, China, Cuba y Rusia: Susanne S. Gratius, Autonomous University of Madrid

Life under Authoritarianism: Social and Political Responses in Venezuela

Sponsor: Venezuelan Studies

Session Organizer: Maryhen G. Jiménez Morales, University of Oxford

Chair: Aníbal S. Pérez-Liñán, University of Notre Dame

Discussant: Leiv Marsteintredet, University of Bergen

  • Venezuela: Análisis del Proceso de Construcción del Autoritarismo en el siglo XXI: Juan M. Trak Vásquez, Independiente
  • Shoutings, Scoldings and Whispers: Women’s Responses to Urban Violence and Militarization in Two Caracas barrios: Verónica Zubillaga, Universidad Simón Bolívar
  • Public-private Partnerships: The Opposition’s Formula to Govern in Authoritarian Settings: Maryhen G. Jiménez Morales, University of Oxford; Miriam Kornblith, National Endowment for Democracy
  • Usos Políticos de las Intermediaciones Militantes de la Acción Pública. El Caso de la Campaña por la Agenda Legislativa de los Movimientos Sociales y Populares en 2015: Yoletty Bracho, Université Lumière Lyon 2

Trayectoria(s) de la Erosión de la Democracia y la Consolidación del Autoritarismo en Venezuela (I)

Session Organizer: Iria Puyosa, UCV-ININCO; Raul A. Sanchez Urribarri, La Trobe University

Chair: Juan M. Trak Vásquez, Independiente

Discussant: Juan M. Trak Vásquez, Independiente

Panelists:

  • The De-democratization of Latin America’s Showcase for Democracy: From a Democratic Chavismo to an Autocratic Post-Chavismo: Maria I. Puerta-Riera, Valencia College
  • The Venezuelan Supreme Court and its Role in the Consolidation of Autocratic Rule under Maduro: Raul A. Sanchez Urribarri, La Trobe University
  • Elite Purges in Venezuela: Adriana M. Boersner, University of South Carolina Aiken
  • La Institucionalidad Autoritaria y sus Laberintos bajo los Regímenes de Chávez y Maduro: Stefania Vitale, CENDES-UCV

Trayectoria(s) de la Erosión de la Democracia y la Consolidación del Autoritarismo en Venezuela (II)

Session Organizers: Iria Puyosa, UCV-ININCO, Raul A. Sanchez Urribarri, La Trobe University

Chair: Raul A. Sanchez Urribarri, La Trobe University

Discussant: Armando Chaguaceda Noriega, Gobierno y Análisis Político AC

Panelistas:

  • Crónica de una Muerte por Desangramiento. De la Democracia Liberal al Autoritarismo
  • Hegemónico en Venezuela: Francisco Alfaro Pareja, Universidad Simón Bolívar
  • La Revolución Bolivariana y la Evolución de las Lógicas Totalitarias de Poder en el Siglo XXI: Miguel Angel Martínez Meucci, Universidad Austral de Chile
  • The Politicization of the Venezuelan Military and Democratic Erosion (1999-2019): John Polga Hecimovich, US Naval Academy

Participación y Política Contenciosa desde el Chavismo y desde la Oposición: Movilización y Resistencia desde los Colectivos, las Organizaciones y los Movimientos Sociales en Venezuela

Session Organizers: Maria del Pilar García-Guadilla, Universidad Simón Bolívar; Carlos G. Torrealba, Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), México

Chairs: Maria del Pilar García-Guadilla, Universidad Simón Bolívar; Carlos G. Torrealba, Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), México

Discussant: Luis Duno-Gottberg, Rice University

Panelists:

  • “No Queremos Bozal de Arepa”: Repertorios de Resistencia Comunal en la Venezuela después de Chávez: Carlos G. Torrealba, Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), México
  • The Limits and Possibilities of Participation in the Petro State: The Rise and Fall of Radical Democracy in Torres Municipality: Gabriel Hetland, University at Albany
  • From “Grupos de Trabajo” to “Colectivos”: The Evolution of Armed Pro-Government Groups in the Chávez Era: Alejandro Velasco, New York University
  • Arco Minero del Orinoco: Diversificación Extractivista, Vulneración de Derechos Constitucionales y Resistencia: Francisco J. Velasco, Centro de Estudios del Desarrollo, CENDES - Universidad Central de Venezuela
  • Heterogeneidad del Movimiento Estudiantil Venezolano en la Era Chavista: Impactos Políticos de la Querella entre Objetivos, Estrategias y Partidización.: Maria del Pilar García-Guadilla, Universidad Simón Bolívar
6. Special Mentions

During the LASA 2021 Business Meeting we had an opportunity to recognize our former chair and executive committee member, Professor Margarita López Maya, elected as LASA Vice President/President-Elect, congratulating and wishing her great success in her tenure.

We also had a moment to remember our dear colleague, Professor Paula Vásquez Lezama (1969-2021), who was a dear member of our section, a recognized Venezuelan expert in France, who passed away this year.

7. LASA Venezuela

Finally, during the Business Meeting, the Section announced that in June 2021, the Section on Venezuelan Studies would hold the V JORNADAS DE LASA VENEZUELA. In recent years, the Jornadas have become the space where research and creative contributions converge from the perspectives of the humanities and social sciences focusing on Venezuela. The Jornadas were coordinated by our colleague and SVS EC Member Magdalena López, with a team formed by members of the SVS including Oriele Benavides, María Pilar García Guadilla, Vicente Lecuna, María Isabel Puerta Riera, David Smilde, Verónica Zubillaga, and Raúl Sánchez Urribarrí, with the staff support in Venezuela provided by Rosaura Guerra.

In order to consolidate this experience and strengthen the exchange of views on Venezuela across scholars located in Venezuela and overseas, we gathered in a virtual and on-site event (in Caracas, Cumaná and Mérida, Venezuela) from June 28 to 30th to hold the conference. We are pleased to report that it was a resounding success! 173 papers were presented in 35 panels, with three Master events, seven round tables, and four special cultural activities. The event counted with the support of the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), and a wide range of academic institutions in Venezuela and abroad.

The Jornadas were well attended by participants in Venezuela and across the world, and very well received by the broader academic community. The event received a substantial amount of press coverage from some of the best-known newspapers and media outlets in Venezuela. We would like to share the comment made by one of the presenters, as it relates to the importance of these events, in the context of the current situation Venezuela is dealing with: “It was a wonderful event, which was carried out with many difficulties, where paradoxically those who helped the most were people from the provinces.”

Section on Venezuelan Studies 2019-2020 Report

Submitted to LASA, September 2020.

Prepared by Iria Puyosa/ SVS Chair 2018-2020 

I am pleased to report on the activities of the Section on Venezuelan Studies during the year 2019-2002.

Annual Report to the SVS membership

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Section of Venezuelan Studies (SVS) did not hold a meeting to present this report. The formal reporting of activities is done by sending the 2019-2020 SVS Annual Report via the Section listserv. Members have the opportunity to comment on the SVS Annual Report by emailing the same Section listserv.

1- Membership

At the end of May 2020, the Venezuelan Section has 112 registered members. This number is only two fewer members less than the previous year, which is better than expected in the COVID-19 pandemic context.

2- Section of Venezuelan Studies’ efforts to assist Venezuelan scholars

The section leadership was able to moderate the membership's decline by obtaining special funding from private foundations to sponsor Venezuelan scholars. The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) offered a series of grants for Venezuelan researchers to attend the LASA 2020 Congress in Guadalajara. A committee of academics from different universities and different disciplines made the selection of grantees. The SVS Chair remained outside the selection process due to a conflict of interest for having applied to receive a grant. The grants were awarded considering the need for funding and the proposal's academic quality. The grants recipients were: María del Pilar García-Guadilla, Iria Puyosa, Francisco Alfaro, Verónica Zubillaga, José Manuel Puente, Natalia Gan, María Teresa Vera, Iraida Cacique y Miguel Ángel Martínez Meucci. Given the Guadalajara Congress's suspension and the Venezuelan scholars' decision not to participate in the virtual congress, WOLA did not make the disbursements to the grantees. WOLA received the reimbursement from LASA in those cases in which they had paid for the grantees' registration. The Section thanks professor David Smilde for his efforts to obtain the funds for the WOLA grants.

The President of LASA 2018-2019, professor Mara Viveros and the executive secretary Milagros Pereyra offered at the end of 2019 to obtain grants with the Tinker Foundation to finance attendance Guadalajara of the Venezuelan members presenting in the LASA Invited Panel Participación y política contenciosa desde el chavismo y desde la oposición and in the Symposium Trayectoria(s) de la Erosión de la Democracia y la Consolidación del Autoritarismo en Venezuela . LASA did not open a call for requesting these funds. The Section did not take part in this selection process and was not informed of the details. LASA awarded the Tinker grants to Francisco Javier Velasco, María-Pilar García-Guadilla, Francisco Alfaro Pareja, Stefania Vitale, Benigno Alarcón Deza, and Iria Puyosa. María-Pilar García-Guadilla, Francisco Alfaro Pareja, and Iria Puyosa turned down the Tinker grants since they had already accepted the WOLA grants. The Section does not have information concerning the other beneficiaries. However, the panels in which they participated were not presented at the 2019 virtual Congress. As it became a tradition since 2016, the SVS organized a crowdfunding. The amount raised this year was only 699 US$. The lack of success may be because we stopped promoting the crowdfunding in late February when it became clear that the world was heading to a pandemic. It was unlikely that many Venezuelan scholars were going to attend the Guadalajara Congress. The amount raised was transferred to the Venezuelan Section's LASA account in which there is now an available balance of US$ 2,957.53.

The Chair and the Secretary of the Section participated in several meetings with the Institute of International Education to include Venezuelan academics in the Scholar Rescue Fund program. Meetings were held with institutions that could be recipients of Venezuelan scholars, such as the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) at Brown University, and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACS) at the University of Michigan. Emails were also exchanged with the University of El Rosario (Colombia) and FLACSO-Ecuador. These efforts were interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The comprehensive proposal to address Venezuelan researchers' situation presented at the 2019 LASA Chairs meeting did not receive an official response from the LASA Executive Council. However, the offer of the Tinker grants may have arisen from that effort. The main points in that proposal were the following:

  • Venezuelan Members should be listed as 'Category 4' Members.
  • An automatic subsidy should be given to Venezuelan Residents to cover the annual membership of the Section of Venezuelan Studies.
  • Creating a Fund to support Venezuelan members' participation in the LASA Congress (both residents and non-residents).
  • To develop and promote an initiative to support Venezuelan academics who have recently migrated to other countries.

The Section leadership continued to be concerned because, in LASA, Venezuela may be studied and discussed from afar, in the absence of Venezuelan researchers' voices.

3- Composition of the Committee

After the 2020 elections, the Section Executive Committee is made up of the following members.

  • The members elected for the 2019-2021 period are Miguel Angel Martínez Meucci ( Universidad Austral de Chile), Francisco Alfaro (Independent scholar), María Isabel Puerta Riera (Valencia College) and Rebecca Hanson (University of Florida)
  • The members elected for the 2019-2021 period are Magdalena López (University Institute of Lisbon) , Armando Chaguaceda (Gobierno y Análisis Político AC), John Polga ( United States Naval Academy) , María del Pilar García-Guaduilla (Universidad Simón Bolívar) and the new student representative Oriele Benavides (Princeton University).

The Chair thanks professors Daniel Levine, Margarita López Maya, Magaly Sánchez, Víctor Mijares, Juan Manuel Trak and the student representative Alejandro Martínez for their services to the Section. Raul Sánchez Urribarri will serve as Section Chair 2020-2022, and María Isabel Puerta Riera will serve as the Section Secretary.

4- SVS Panels 2020 Congress

For the 2020 Congress, the SVS sponsored two panels, a Symposium, and co-organized a LASA Invited Panel. Nonetheless, these panels were withdrawn from the virtual Congress, and they will be part of the 2021 Vancouver Congress. The two sponsored panels were the following,

a) Session Title: Life under Authoritarianism: Social and Political Responses in Venezuela. Session Organizer: Maryhen Jiménez Morales; Chair: Aníbal Pérez-Liñán; Discussant: Leiv Marsteintredet; Participants:

Análisis del proceso de construcción de un autoritarismo en el siglo XXI - Author: Juan Trak Vásquez; La degradación de los procesos comiciales en un orden autoritario: Los referendos en Venezuela - Author: Miriam Kornblith; Public-private partnerships: The opposition’s formula to govern in authoritarian settings - Author: Maryhen Jiménez Morales; Shoutings, scoldings and whispers: Women’s responses to Urban Violence and Militarization in two Caracas barrios - Author: Verónica Zubillaga.

b) Session Title: Venezuela 2020: Evidencias de una Emergencia Humanitaria Compleja Organizer: Jose Manuel Puente Chair: Douglas Massey Discussant: Miguel Angel Martinez Meucci Participants:

Venezuelan State-Society new “invisible” relations, and their consequences on the massive exit of population - Magaly Sánchez; La transición venezolana desde la óptica democrática: El autoritarismo inestable de Maduro - Michael McCarthy; El papel de los actores externos ante la transición bloqueada - Susanne Gratius; Venezuela y la Persistencia de una Grave Crisis Económica: Un Enfoque de Economía Política - José Manuel Puente

The LASA invited panel was the following,

Session Title: Participación y política contenciosa desde el chavismo y desde la oposición: Movilización y resistencia desde los colectivos, las organizaciones y los movimientos sociales en Venezuela. Session Organizer: Maria del Pilar García-Guadilla; Session Organizer: Carlos Torrealba; Chair: Maria del Pilar García-Guadilla; Chair: Carlos Torrealba; Discussant: Julia Buxton; Participants:

“No queremos bozal de arepa”: Repertorios de resistencia comunal en la Venezuela después de Chávez - Author: Carlos Torrealba; From “Grupos de Trabajo” to “Colectivos”: The evolution of armed pro-government groups in the Chávez era - Author: Alejandro Velasco; Heterogeneidad del movimiento estudiantil venezolano en la era chavista: impactos políticos de la querella entre objetivos, estrategias y partidización. - Author: Maria del Pilar García-Guadilla; mpgarcia@usb.ve Arco Minero del Orinoco: diversificación extractivista, vulneración de derechos constitucionales y resistencia - Author: Francisco Velasco; The Limits and Possibilities of Participation in the Petro State: The Rise and Fall of Radical Democracy in Torres Municipality - Author: Gabriel Hetland.

The Symposium Trayectoria(s) de la Erosión de la Democracia y la Consolidación del Autoritarismo en Venezuela, organized by Iria Puyosa y Raúl Sánchez Urribarrí comprises three roundtables, as it follows,

Roundtable 1: Erosión de la democracia 

  • María Isabel Puerta. The de-democratization of Latin America’s showcase for democracy: From a democratic chavismo to an autocratic post-chavismo. 
  • Rául Sánchez Urribarri. The Venezuelan Supreme Court and its Role in the Consolidation of Autocratic Rule under Maduro 
  • Adriana Boersner. How does the inner elite circle has evolved in Venezuela? 
  • Stefania Vitale & Benigno Alarcón. La economía política del conflicto en Venezuela.

Roundtable 2: Politización y control en todas las esferas de la vida pública ·

  • John Polga. The Politicization of the Venezuelan Military and Democratic Erosion (1999-2019). ·
  • Paula Vásquez. Prometer consumo y producir escasez. Políticas de suministro alimentario de la “revolución bolivariana”. 
  • Iria Puyosa. Legitimación comunicacional de los autoritarismos del siglo XXI. Erosión de la democracia en cuatro fases.

Roundtable 3: Trayectoria en la teorización del chavismo 

  • Francisco Alfaro. Muerte por desangramiento. De la democracia liberal al autoritarismo hegemónico en Venezuela. 
  • Miguel Angel Martínez Meucci. La Revolución Bolivariana y la evolución de las lógicas totalitarias de poder en el siglo XXI.

The Symposium discussants were Daniel Levine and Juan Manuel Trak.

5. Fernando Coronil Prize

According to the verdict by the jury integrated by Lisa Blackmore ( University of Essex ), Kirk Hawkins ( Brigham Young University), and Javier Guerrero (Princeton University), the Venezuelan Studies Section Fernando Coronil Prize to the Best Book on Venezuela 2018-2019 was awarded to Tides of Revolution (University of New Mexico Press) by Cristina Soriano ( Villanova University ). The Prize will be given out by the Section Chair at the 2021 Vancouver Congress.

6. Venezuelan Studies Conferences

The Section leadership decided to promote the organization of two scholarly events to foster Venezuelan studies.

a. Venezuelan Studies Conference in Caracas

The Venezuelan Studies Conference in Caracas was scheduled for the month of November, on the Andrés Bello Catholic University campus. The organizing committee is made up of Francisco Alfaro, María del Pilar García-Guadilla, Verónica Zubillga, Stefania Vitale, Benigno Alarcón, Iria Puyosa, and Raul Sánchez Urribarri. This conference is being co-organized by the Center for Political and Government Studies of the Universidad Catolica Andres Bello. However, due to the expansion of the coronavirus epidemic, the conference is likely to be postponed to February 2021.

b. Venezuelan Studies Conference in Bogotá

The Organizer Committee of the Venezuelan Studies Conference in Bogotá is integrated by Iria Puyosa, Victor Mijares (Universidad de Los Andes), Jeffrey Cedeño (Universidad Javeriana), and Agrivalca Canelón (Universidad de La Sabana). Initially, the conference was being planned to take place in October on the Universidad Javeriana campus. Conversations were underway with Universidad de El Rosario with the outlook of having them as co-organizer of the conference. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the conference organizing is on hold until after the quarantine restrictions are fully lifted in Bogotá.

7. Section Statements and Nominations

a. The Executive Committee of the SVS supported the statement prepared by the Amazon Section to alert on the ecological damage caused by the fires in Brazil and Bolivia. Responding to our request, the statement included a specific paragraph on the ecocide that has been committed in the Orinoco Mining Arc since 2016.

b. The Executive Committee of the SVS prepared a statement on "Migration incidents that affect the rights of Venezuelan scholars and researchers." On December 22, 2019, the declaration was signed by 37 of the 113 members of the Section at the time.

c. The SVS Executive Committee promoted the nomination of the co-founder and first Chair of our Section, Professor Daniel Levine, for the Kalman Silvert Award of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA). About 60 signatures of LASA members supported this nomination.

d. The Executive Committee of the SVS prepared a statement expressing dissatisfaction with the procedures with which the LASA 2019 virtual Congress was decided. More than 80% of the SVS members chose not to participate in the virtual Congress, and none of the panels sponsored by the Section took place in 2019. The SVS statement opened an organization-wide discussion about the lack of membership participation in LASA decision-making processes.

e. The SVS took leadership in a process to promote the democratization of LASA. In a communication signed by about 200 members from 24 sections, we made four specific requests to make the LASA processes more participatory and representative of its membership's interests. We requested,

  • Revision of the by-laws to provide the association with a more participatory and decentralized structure and reinforce LASA's mission of "promoting the interests of its diverse membership and encouraging civic engagement through the construction of networks public debate."
  • Reduction of conference costs, aligned with the lower prices in other academic associations.
  • Review and audit of financial management for the last five years.
  • Admission of the sections' reports by email, in case it is not possible to carry out the Business Meetings virtually in 2020.

The last request was accepted. It allows us to submit to the membership this Annual Report by email instead of by holding a business meeting. We expect that significant democratization changes and greater transparency will occur in LASA in the next years after this renovation process began.

Iria Puyosa, PhD. Section Chair 2018-2020

Raul Sánchez Urribarry, PhD. Secretary 2018-2020

Section on Venezuelan Studies 2018-2019

Report Submitted to LASA, July 2019
Prepared by Iria Puyosa/ SVS Chair

I am pleased to report on the activities of the Section on Venezuelan Studies, as well as on our regular business meeting held during the LASA 2019 Congress in Boston, USA.

  • Section Business Meeting

The Section of Venezuelan Studies (SVS) business meeting was held on May 29 from 5:45 to 7:15 pm, at the Sheraton Boston Hotel. Fifty (50) members attended. Chair Iria Puyosa presided the session.

The following points were discussed in the meeting:

1- Declining Membership

The Chair reported that the Venezuelan section has currently 114 registered members (sixteen members less than last year). This membership count will allow the Section to sponsor only two panels for LASA 2020. The Section Chair and other members expressed concern as a substantial increase of academic interest in Venezuela -which is evident in more than 100 papers related to Venezuela presented at this Congress- is being accompanied by a decline in the number of Venezuelan scholars attending the Congress. As it was stated, on a document submitted in the Chairs meeting, in LASA, Venezuela is studied and discussed from afar, in the absence of the voices of Venezuelan researchers.

2- Section of Venezuelan Studies’ proposals to assist Venezuelan past, current and prospective members

The Chair informed that the SVS presented in the LASA Chairs meeting the document approved by the Section Executive Committee with specific proposals to address the situation of Venezuelan researchers that cannot afford to attend LASA congresses. The main proposals are the following: a) Venezuelan Members should be listed as ‘Category 4’ Members; b) Requesting an automatic subsidy for Venezuelan Residents to cover the annual membership of the Section on Venezuelan Studies; c) Creating a Fund to support the participation of Venezuelan members in the LASA Congress (both residents and non-residents); d) Create and promote an initiative to support Venezuelan academics who have recently migrated to other countries. These proposals were received with understanding by the Chairs meeting, and the SVS is expecting a follow-up response from LASA leadership. (Document below)

3- Crowdfunding and SVS Grants

With the membership funds and contributions to the crowdfunding of the Section, four scholarships were granted to researchers resident in Venezuela that applied for support to attend the 2019 Congress. The recipients were Vicente Lecuna (1,000), Margarita López Maya (500$), Claudia Vargas (500$) and Francisco Alfaro (500$).

4- Composition of the Committee

The new composition of the Section Executive Committee, recently elected, was announced.

a. The newly elected members are the following: Miguel Angel Martínez Meucci ( Universidad Austral de Chile) , Francisco Alfaro (Independent scholar ), María Isabel Puerta Riera (Valencia College ) y Rebecca Hanson (University of Florida)

b. The council members elected in 2018 that will continue serving are: Daniel Levine, Margarita López Maya, Magaly Sánchez, Víctor Mijares, Juan Manuel Trak y Alejandro Martínez as graduate student (until 2020)

The Chair thanked Verónica Zubillaga, Alicia Ríos, Nathalie Bouzaglo, Andrés Cañizález and Armando Chaguaceda for their services to the Section.

Raul Sanchez Urribarri will continued to serve as the Secretary and Iria Puyosa as Section Chair (until 2020).

They were welcomed and thanks were given to the outgoing members.

5- SVS Panels

The 2019 Congress SVS featured panels were the following:

a) "The Consolidation of Authoritarian Rule in Venezuela: A Conceptual and Empirical Assessment".

Organizer / Chair: Raul Sanchez Urribarri

Co-Chair: Maryhen Jiménez

Discussant: Veronica Zubillaga

Papers / Authors:

  • Political regime, logics of power and state capacities in Venezuela - Miguel Ángel Martínez Meucci
  • Régimen Híbrido y Apaciguamiento. El Aprovechamiento de los Mecanismos Alternativos de Diálogo y Negociación para el Tránsito hacia el Autoritarismo en Venezuela - Francisco José Alfaro
  • Respuesta Internacional a La Consolidación del Autoritarismo en Venezuela - Adriana Boersner
b) "Freedom of expression, media development, and contemporary Venezuelan politics".

Organizer: Kyong L. Mazzaro

Discussant: Matias Ponce.

Papers / Authors:

  • Electoral competition, partisanship, and the media: A look at restrictions on media freedom in Venezuela (2002-2015) - Kyong L. Mazzaro.
  • Twitter as a battlefield for the survival of Chavism - Iria Puyosa.
c) "La mutación criminal en la era post Chávez".

Organizer: Rebecca Hanson

Discussant: Alejandro Velasco

Papers / Authors:

  • The Paradox of Violence in Venezuela - David Smilde
  • Del punitivismo carcelario a la matanza sistemática: El avance de los operativos militarizados en la era post-Chávez - Veronica Zubillaga & Rebecca Hanson
  • El tiro por la culata: Políticas de seguridad y guerra urbana en Caracas - Andrés Antillano
  • Dinámicas armadas y órdenes territoriales urbanos en Caracas: Un estudio de caso en tres barrios caraqueños - Enrique Desmond Arias

The Section on Venezuelan Studies promoted and help to organize an Intersectional Panel jointed with theSections on Colombian and Ecuadorian Studies, titled: La Gran Colombia: La Invención de la República . However, the venezuelan scholar Tomas Straka was unable to attend the Congress to present his work “ Reconciliándonos con la gloria: la Gran Colombia en el pensamiento político e historiográfico venezolano (1907-1948)”, due to financial constraints. The Intersectional panel was re-organized without the Venezuelan Section participation.

5. SVS Awards

During the Section meeting the SVS Awards to the 2019 Best Articles were presented.

According to the verdict by the jury integrated by Javier Corrales (Amherst College), Alicia Lissidini (National University of San Martin) and Armando Chaguaceda (University of Guanajuato), the Venezuelan Studies Section Award to the Best Article 2019, Social Sciences mention, to: "Soft Balancing the Titans: Venezuelan Foreign Policy Policy Toward the United States, China and Russia" by Víctor M. Mijares (Universidad de los Andes - Bogotá). Two mentions were given to: "The new frontiers of Venezuela's rentier state: Gold mining, cryptocurrency and commodity collateralization" by Antulio Rosales (Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Oslo) and "From prison punitivism to systematic slaughter: The advance of militarized operations in the post-chávez era "by Veronica Zubillaga (Simón Bolívar University) and Rebecca Hanson (University of Florida). According to the verdict by the jury integrated by Gustavo Guerrero (Université de Cergy-Pontoise//Paris Seine), Gina Saraceni (Pontificia Universidad Javeriana) y Colette Capriles (Universidad Simón Bolívar), the Venezuelan Studies Section Award to the Best Article 2019, Humanities mention, was given ex aqueo to “The Welser Phantom: Apparitions of the Welser Venezuela Colony in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century German Cultural Memory" by Giovanna Montenegro (Binghamton University) and "RAW: The Flesh of the Past" by Irina Troconis (New York University).

6. Venezuelan Studies Conferences

The meeting attendees approved to promote and organize Venezuelan Studies conferences that may allow more Venezuelan researcher to present their work and scholarly discuss with colleagues.

a. Venezuelan Studies in Caracas

Francisco Alfaro, new member of the SVS Executive Committee volunteered to lead the Organizer Committee of the Venezuelan Studies Conference in Caracas. Fernando Torres, Claudia Vargas and Víctor Mijares will be part of this Organizer Committee. Other Venezuelan academics unable to attend the LASA Congress in Boston may join this committee.

b. Venezuelan Studies in Bogotá

Victor Mijares volunteered to lead the Organizer Committee of the Venezuelan Studies Conference in Bogotá.

7. Funding to support membership academic work

Those attending the meeting agreed that the most important issue faced by the Venezuelan Studies Section is to seek funding opportunities to keep Venezuelan scholars participating in academic activities. David Smilde volunteered to lead these efforts.

8. Other Relevant Matters

a. SVS’ declaration regarding Venezuela’s Forced Migration Crisis

On October 2018, the SVS published a declaration urging the Latin American Studies community of scholars to pay attention to the ongoing Venezuelan crisis and to give support to Venezuelan researchers forced to migrate in the last five years. This declaration was signed by 83 members of the SVS ( Attached ). The Section did not receive messages of support from the LASA Executive Council or others Section, although some colleagues expressed support on a personal level

b. Social media team

The Chair thanked Cecilia Rodríguez and Manuel Silva Ferrer for their services handling the SVS social media accounts. Since Cecilia Rodríguez will no longer will be helping in this work, María Isabel Puerta volunteered to join the social media team.

c. Naming the Best Articles Award

The proposal of opening to membership vote of the name for the best paper award in both Social Sciences and Humanities was approved by the attendees to the meeting. The name of the awards will honored outstanding Venezuelan scholars.

d. Academic collaboration

Those attending the meeting -specially those joining the Section Executive Committee. agreed to continue working on enhancing the role of the Section as a hub to create and consolidate academic networks, in order to foster collaboration between residents in Venezuela and members based overseas, especially those who have been forced to leave Venezuela in the past five years.

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Latin American Studies Association

Section on Venezuelan Studies

Latin American Studies Association

2019 Annual Meeting

LASA Section Chairs Dear Colleagues,

We would like to call your attention to, and address, the devastating impact of Venezuela’s current socio-economic, political and humanitarian crisis on our fellow colleagues from Venezuela. We would like to set aside the debate about the crisis itself, and focus on exploring options to assist our colleagues. This includes many of those who have been members of this organisation, and dedicated their efforts to nurture and develop it, for years prior. Assisting them is not a mere favour: It is our professional duty.

The Section on Venezuelan Studies has attempted to discuss options to help our Venezuelan colleagues and consider the difficulties they face due to the country’s crisis since at least 2010, when the country’s crisis began becoming apparent. Our previous chairs David Smilde, Margarita López Maya, Javier Guerrero and Vicente Lecuna, tried to bring this matter to the attention of the Association’s Executive Council to no avail. Given the magnitude of the crisis at this stage, we hope that the Executive Council and the Chairs of the Association’s Section decide to act without further delays.

The Section of Venezuelan Studies’ proposals to assist Venezuelan past, current and prospective members is the following:

1. Venezuelan Members should be listed as ‘Category 4’ Members

Listing Venezuela as a ‘Category 4’ country would be of enormous help to our colleagues. Venezuelan academics make less than US$ 10,000 a year (in fact, they make about US$64 a year, including annual leave). Currently, Venezuelan academics pay US$ 45 + US$ 12 = US$ 57 for their membership. By designating Venezuela as ‘Category 4’, members would pay US$17 + US$12 = US$29. This would make it easier for our members to keep their affiliation to the Association, and to find and use subsidies and donations effectively to assist them.

2. Requesting an automatic subsidy for Venezuelan Residents to cover the annual membership of the Section on Venezuelan Studies

We propose the following mechanism: When a member resident in Venezuela becomes member of the Section on Venezuelan Studies, or renews their membership, they automatically receive a US$12 subsidy to cover their membership fees from a LASA fund created to this effect.

3. Creating a Fund to support the participation of Venezuelan members in the Annual Meeting (both residents and non-residents)

We are concerned that a substantial increase of academic interest in Venezuela -which is evident in more than 100 papers at this Congress- is being accompanied by a decline in the number of Venezuelan scholars attending the Congress. Venezuela in LASA is studied and discussed from afar, in the absence of the voices of Venezuelan researchers. To address this problem, we would like to establish a Venezuelan Grants Fund . We ask that LASA donates the US$5 it retains for each SVS membership toward a new Venezuelan Grants Fund, that the Section would use towards our annual travel grants. The SVS has been supporting attendance at the LASA congress of Venezuelan academics with crowdfunding. This year we awarded four travel grants with funds obtained by this initiative. However, this initiative does not provide an institutional, sustainable and efficient response to the problem. A travel grant funds with enough institutional support would.

4. Create and promote an initiative to support Venezuelan academics who have recently migrated to other countries

The difficulty to obtain funds for attending the LASA Congress also persists among colleagues who have been forced to expatriate, and who also do not count on institutional funds for research and attendance at events. Therefore, we need to expand our efforts to raise funds and thus meet their growing needs. In that sense, we reiterate the call we made in the declaration on the Massive Forced Migration Crisis of Venezuelans , which we published in October 2018: "The Venezuelan Studies Section of LASA also calls on its members and other colleagues in the association to receive Venezuelan researchers who are part of the population forced to emigrate from Venezuela, so that they can provide support that allows them to continue with their academic careers, at least as temporary visiting researchers in host institutions. "

Iria Puyosa

Section on Venezuelan Studies - Chair

Raul Sanchez Urribarri

Section on Venezuelan Studies - Secretary