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Venezuela’s Twenty-First Century Socialist Agriculture: A Fordist Neo- Populism?
February 6 @ 5:15 pm - 7:00 pm
Aaron Kappeler (University of Edinburgh)
Based on two years of fieldwork in a state-run, agro-industrial farm in the home state of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, this talk explores the impact of agrarian reform on rural livelihoods and the relationships that have emerged between peasant farming cooperatives and state enterprises. Taking its inspiration from the work of Bernstein and Byres, it theorizes the coupling of large-scale Fordist factory farms with smallholder led systems and the ways in which regulated exchanges between the two systems intersect the evolution of rural class structures. Located in the state of Barinas, an epicenter of agrarian struggles, this hybrid model of rural development was conceived as embodying the principle of food sovereignty and reconciling tensions between the state and popular movements. However, the talk concludes that key missteps in this reform effort have led to Venezuela’s current food security crisis and contributed to the greatest humanitarian disaster in modern Venezuelan history.