Bean, Anderson M. “Venezuela, Human Rights and Participatory Democracy.” Critical Sociology 42:6 (2016): 827-843.

The author in this article uses the history of human rights in Venezuela through grassroots organizing and participatory democracy over the past few decades to analyze how human rights should move forward in the Global South. One of Bean’s main points of the article is to show that human rights have a place in areas outside the West and they have real potential to bring social change when applied properly. Their second point is that in order for human rights to serve the people they are concerning in an anti-hegemonic context, they need to be radicalized. Lastly, the researcher intended to prove that the state is not the only violator or granter of human rights, but that, when there is pressure from the people, it can serve a higher purpose of protecting its citizens from human rights abuses. The author accomplishes all of this through analyzing the history of socialism in Venezuela, specifically the radicalized human rights efforts made under Hugo Chavez.

A main strength in this project was the extensive historical background provided. The author openly recognized that in order to understand the topics being discussed, one had to have a basic understanding of the rise of Venezuelan socialism. The rise of Hugo Chavez and his radicalized human rights efforts under his power are an integral aspect to understanding how human rights can be treated in a broader Global South. However, the author’s intent focus on the positive elements of Chavez’s rule (including his aid in developing a human rights-conscience constitution and his promoting of communal councils), seems to ignore Chavez’s negative elements; such as his descent into an authoritarian state. Bean displays these advancements as Chavez improving over time, despite the fact that after this timeline he covers, there are still some negative abuses on Chavez’s part due to his style of government being a flawed version of socialism.

This source provides good insight into how human rights can be viewed specifically in a Global South context. The author’s belief in the fact that human rights must be radicalized and fit into the local framework is an important view to take into account, especially for a country like Venezuela which has a unique political history in relation to human rights. This article provides a good starting point to begin research of this broader topic of human rights abuses in Venezuela and the efforts made to combat these abuses. Through this source, one has a better sense of the major topics in Venezuelan human rights history and can better approach the topic in a thoughtful and knowledgeable way.

I found this above image on the Americas Society/Council of the Americas website. I selected this image because it shows former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez with the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. This constitution was seen as a brief moment of success for human rights in Venezuela as it provided an extensive amount of rights for its citizens, including various socio-economic rights such as employment, housing, and health care.

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