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Paperback Cowboy in Caracas: A North American's Memoir of Venezuela's Democratic Revolution Book

ISBN: 1931896372

ISBN13: 9781931896375

Cowboy in Caracas: A North American's Memoir of Venezuela's Democratic Revolution

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Book Overview

No president today is more controversial than Venezuela's Hugo Chavez Frias. Elected in a landslide in 1998, he promised a peaceful revolution. That peaceful dream became a nightmare when Chavez was overthrown in a coup d'etat in 2002. Surprisingly, he was brought back to power by his supporters, mostly barrio dwellers, within forty-eight hours. Although Chavez continues to be dogged by controversy, he stays in power because of these supporters who...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Very informative and easy read. We don't get the real picture of what is happening in Venezuela fro

This is a great place to start to really find out what is happening in Venezuela. Don't trust US officials or US Press. After this move on to Biography of Hugo Chavez by Bart Jones and then the scholarly book by Fulbright Scholar Greg Wilpert "Changing Venezuela by Taking Power : The History And Policies of the Chavez Government" and you will never trust the US Government and US Media again. I recommend Charly Hardy's book first.

Understand Venezuela

I almost missed my stop on the Caracas metro because I was so engrossed in "Cowboy in Caracas". Charles Hardy worked as a priest for many years in one of Caracas's slums and knows its people well. If you want to understand Venezuela's democratic revolution ignore the bile in the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal and read this book.

"An Important Perspective on the Current Situation in Venezuela"

Charles Hardy's memoir COWBOY IN CARACAS: A NORTH AMERICAN'S MEMOIR OF VENEZUELA'S DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION (Curbstone Press, ISBN: 978-1-931896-37-5, $15.00) gives a much-needed voice to the impoverished living in Venezuela. Condemned by big business and the American government, democratically elected Hugo Chávez became a representative of the underrepresented. Hardy gives a detailed firsthand account of life in Venezuela before and after the Bolivarian Revolution. Hardy sets the stage, describing the chaos and corruption wrought by the Venezuelan government prior to the election of Chávez. Leaving no stone unturned, Hardy addresses the events following the election, including the many unjustified and unsuccessful attempts to remove Chávez from office. Exposing the manipulative methods of the opposition, Hardy gives the reader a glimpse of why the rich hated Chávez, but also why the Venezuelan poor adored him. This is a very important book told from an all too often neglected perspective. Hardy watches barrio dwellers leave pressed cardboard shacks that lacked indoor plumbing (the type of home he lived in for much of his stay in Venezuela) and move into much more suitable apartment-style housing. Changes like these could have only occurred during the administration of Chávez. The reader is brought into the lives of these impoverished people (it is estimated that eighty percent of Venezuelans are living in poverty), and is able to see how necessary it is for them to be represented by a president who is willing to look out for their best interests. The message of Hardy's book can best be expressed through a statement he makes on page 19, "It is often simply difficult to understand what one has never experienced. And yet, if we truly want a better world for everyone, we've got to try." This book is essential to knowing what is truly going on in Venezuela beyond what the news media wants the world to believe.

An eye opening encounter!

Hardy's accounts of 25 years in Venezuela are both moving and eye opening. For a true account of what democracy should be, I highly recommend the text!

A moving, alternative take on the Chavez revolution

When he was a Roman Catholic priest, Charles Hardy was sent to Caracas, Venezuela, to work with the poorest of the poor in 1985. While living among them for eight years in a cardboard shack without sanitary facilities, as well as in the years that have followed, he has witnessed the drama of social and political change under Hugo Chavez that has substantially improved their situation. In his lucid and conversationally written book, "Cowboy in Caracas," Hardy recounts his often moving experiences while providing a perspective on Chavez's Bolivarian revolution that is far different from that which we in the United States get from our media - the perspective of the 80 percent of Venezuelans who are poor, not of the small but vocal minority who, as I see it, want to reclaim their traditional control of the country's wealth. (That minority runs the Venezuelan news media, which continually maligns Chavez and overtly participated in the failed US-backed coup against him in 2002, as well as a subsequent attempt to strangle the economy in order to force him out; in each case the people literally put their bodies on the line to support Chavez, thwarting those efforts.) While keeping his focus on the Venezuelans he has met, Hardy vividly illustrates the reality of a country that, UNESCO says, in a year and a half wiped out illiteracy; has opened thousands of schools in rural areas; has created new universities which any Venezuelan can attend without tuition; has provided seed money to farmers and rural women who have started cottage industries; and has substantially expanded cost-free health services. Don't get me wrong: Charles Hardy is no shill for the government, but he does think it has done many things that benefit the vast majority of Venezuelans. If you want an entertaining and humanistic account of what I see as a dynamic country that has little in common with the menace that Bush administration portrays, give "Cowboy in Caracas" a try.
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