Wednesday, November 29, 2017


Since my first academic article titled "Venezuelan Political Parties in the Era of the Popular Front, l936-l945," published in the Journal of Latin American Studies in l979, I have explored and defended various key themes and theses in my scholarly writing. One has to do with factionalism on the left and indeed across the political spectrum. I find that issues of substance lie beneath the surface, even when personality differences and the struggle for power appear to be the sole explanations.  

Another thesis that appears in my more recent writings on Venezuela is that one of the main explanations for so-called “deviations” of the left in power (going back to the French Revolution) is that they are reactions and overreactions to the legal, semi-legal and illegal actions of a disloyal opposition with connections to external enemies. Indeed, the Jacobins in the 1790s faced hostile armies on their eastern border, mainly the Hapsburgs who were edged on by French aristocratic émigrés, who demanded a firm reaction to the revolutionaries in power (an expression of international solidarity?). Napoleon began his rise by crushing a subversive movement within France and then fighting foreign armies. In short the Reign of Terror and militarization that spelled the doom of the French Revolution were largely responses to the enemy at home and abroad. A similar pattern can be noted in revolutionary struggles in the twentieth century and the Venezuelan case in the twenty-first.

This recently updated Wikipedia entry summarizes the main themes in my writings over a period of four decades.


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