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Venezuela: a revolution in contraflow

by Ivan Briscoe
February 10, 2006

Ivan Briscoe, travelling west from Caracas to Macaraibo, listens to the voices of the unemployed, the mobilised, the empowered and the disillusioned to portray the hope and the paradoxes of Hugo Chávez's "Bolivarian revolution:"

He has lived on his homestead for only a year since staging a "sort of invasion", but Jovito González is already enjoying the fruits of the Caribbean. Besides a tin-roofed one-room house, where his family of five lives, lemons, sugar cane and yucca grow fast and profusely. Just below the sandy hillcrest on which his home stands, the vast Maracaibo lake, now bled of most of its vast oil reserves, stretches into a blindingly bright horizon.

"The electricity is stolen", González beams contentedly. "Everything is illegal: the water and the gas too. We live illegally."

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