Changing Venezuela by Taking Power

The Policies of the Chávez Government.

By Gregory Wilpert

Book cover

Purchase at for $17.79 (click on cover image)

Since coming to power in 1998, the Chávez government has inspired both fierce internal debate and horror amongst Western governments accustomed to counting on an obeisant regime in the oil-rich state.

In this rich and resourceful study, Greg Wilpert exposes the self-serving logic behind much middle-class opposition to Venezuela’s elected leader, and explains the real reason for their alarm. He argues that the Chávez government has instituted one of the world’s most progressive constitutions, but warns that they have yet to overcome the dangerous spectres of the country’s past: its culture of patronage and clientelism, its corruption, and its support for personality cults—all of them fuelled by the attention and interference of a succession of US administrations.


“This fascinating study—deeply informed, penetrating in its analysis, comprehensive in scope—explores the historical and socioeconomic roots of the Venezuelan initiatives of recent years, the conflicts they have engendered, the achievements and pitfalls, the animating ideals of a genuinely participatory society, and the prospects for realizing them in ways that, if successful, might have significant impact not only for Latin America but well beyond.”
— Noam Chomsky

“Gregory Wilpert’s book combines academic insight with perspectives gained from living in Venezuela through the tumultuous years of the Chávez administration. His book offers the best general introduction to the complex politics of a country and a leader making a profound impact on global politics at the dawn of this new century.” — Daniel Hellinger, Professor of Political Science at Webster University and co-editor of Venezuelan Politics in the Chávez Era

“Greg Wilpert knows Venezuela intimately and gives us the most thorough and objective analysis of the Chávez government's policies we are likely to find. A thoughtful and useful book for the 21st century and, let us hope, beyond.”
—Susan George: Chair of the Planning Board of the Transnational Institute, author of Another World is Possible If…

Gregory Wilpert is a sociologist (Ph.D. Brandeis University), freelance journalist, and a former US Fulbright Scholar in Venezuela.

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