Venezuela's former reputation as a resource-rich country with a stable liberal democracy established in contrast to a prior and long-standing authoritarian tradition has been challenged in the last few decades not merely as a matter of fact but also in a growing body of historiography that proposes a reassessment of Venezuelan democracy. This reassessment stresses continuities with the political practices of previous dictatorial regimes and the shortcomings of the liberal democracy in achieving its stated aims of social justice and further social mobility.

Alejandro Velasco's Barrio Rising claims its position within this debate directly: by aiming to portray “the long history of how the urban working poor—in fragmented and often contradictory ways—became the most important political constituency in contemporary Venezuela,” the book addresses contemporary literature regarding popular politics in the country (p. 1). Drawing from the works on popular protest and state...

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