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The Voices of Participatory Democracy in Venezuela --A review of Venezuela Speaks! Voices from the Grassroots

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Illustrating the Bolivarian Revolution's contradictions and tensions, their ludoteca had trouble getting financial support from the government's Ministry of Education, which Reyes attributes to The Ministry's "conservative and bourgeois education policies." However, "we were able to receive support from Fundayacucho, which is a foundation under the Ministry of Education. These are the contradictions we have in the government. The people inside Fundayacucho understand this project, but the people working directly in the Ministry don't."

Reyes concludes her interview by arguing that the Bolivarian Revolution has opened doors for women, but "our concern goes beyond the language of gender inclusion and the political participation of women. The larger struggle is to change the culture." Reyes cites several important government initiatives for women, including the National Women's Institute and the 2007 Law on the Right of Women to a Life Free of Violence, which "actually examined the different forms of violence established by patriarchy and machismo as a cultural and ideological system. The creation of The Ministry of Women and Gender Equality in March of 2009 was another very significant step. But I have to say that the bureaucracy swallows good intentions. I think it is a mistake to keep strengthening the institutions. The communities are ready to make the changes. The struggle continues to be the divide between institutions and popular power."

--Hans Bennett is an independent multi-media journalist whose website is www.insubordination.blogspot.com. Permission is granted to reprint as long as www.UpsideDownWorld.org is cited as the original source.

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Hans Bennett is a multi-media journalist mostly focusing on the movement to free Mumia Abu-Jamal and all political prisoners. An archive of his work is available at insubordination.blogspot.com and he is also co-founder of "Journalists for Mumia," (more...)

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