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Carleton College’s Foro Latinoamericano Asks What’s Next for Venezuela

April 22, 2013
By Jacob Cohn '13

Carleton College’s Department of Latin American Studies is preparing for 2013’s installment of the Foro Latinoamericano, a series of events focusing on a single issue related to Latin America. This year’s Foro, entitled “Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela and Beyond,” takes place on Friday, Apr. 26 and Saturday, Apr. 27. The series will focus on the rule of former Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez and on Venezuela’s prospects in the wake of his death in March 2013. All Foro events will take place in the Gould Library Athenaeum and are free and open to the public; events that include lunch or dinner receptions will be reserved for affiliates of the Department of Latin American Studies.

The first of the three guest speakers at the Foro Latinoamericano will be Miguel Tinker-Salas, who will speak at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, Apr. 26. Tinker-Salas’s talk, “Beyond Chávez: Unraveling the Enigma of Venezuela,” will attempt to describe the rule of Chávez and conditions in Venezuela today. Tinker-Salas, a professor of history and Chicano/a and Latino/a studies at Pomona College, is a respected authority on political and social issues in Latin America. Besides his considerable body of academic work, he has authored or coauthored several books on Latin American issues, including The Enduring Legacy: Oil, Culture and Society in Venezuela (Duke Univ. Press, 2009), which looks at the role that Venezuela’s oil wealth has played in the history of the country. Tinker-Salas, who grew up in a Venezuelan oil camp, focuses on issues such as the society and politics of Mexico and Venezuela, the drug war in Mexico and the experience of Latinos in the United States.

Saturday’s events begin at 9:30 a.m. with Sujatha Fernandes’s presentation, “Radio Bemba in an Age of Electronic Media: The Dynamics of Popular Communication in Chávez's Foreign Policy,” which looks at Venezuelan internal and external media. Fernandes, an associate professor of sociology at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, looks at the politics of everyday culture and music. Her work has focused on black popular culture, global hip hop, and social movements, and her writing has been featured in the New York Times and the Huffington Post. Her books include Who Can Stop the Drums? Urban Social Movements in Chávez’s Venezuela (Duke Univ. Press, 2010), looks at the politics of urban Venezuela through its music and popular media.

Fernandes will be followed by the final guest speaker, Javier Corrales, whose presentation, “From ALBA to Damascus: Explaining Chávez’s Foreign Policy,” is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. Corrales, a professor of political science at Amherst College, will explore Venezuela’s relations with other countries, including tensions with the United States. Corrales’s work focuses on the politics of Venezuela and other Latin American countries, and his writing has been widely published in academic journals. His books on Venezuela include U.S.-Venezuela Relations Since the 1990s: Coping with Midlevel Security Threats (Routledge, 2012), which examines the changes in the relationship between the two countries under Chávez, and (with Michael Penfold) Dragon in the Tropics: Hugo Chávez and the Political Economy of Revolution in Venezuela (Brookings Institution Press, 2010), which looks at the political transformation of Venezuela during Chávez’s “Bolivarian revolution.” Corrales is working on a book manuscript on constitutional reforms in Latin America.

This year’s Foro Latinoamericano is being organized by Carleton College Latin American studies professors Silvia López and Alfred Montero. Further information about the program can be found on the department’s website at For more information about specific events, including disability accommodations, contact the Department of Latin American Studies at (507) 222-4240. The Gould Library is located near the end of College Street on the Carleton College campus in Northfield.

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