Particular historic and contemporary formations of criollo society deny the existence of an Afro-Venezuelan community, thus hindering race-based struggles for democracy. However, Afro-Venezuelan activists are challenging Venezuelan race relations through a process of active marooning, a sustained politics of liberation. This interdisciplinary essay uses ethnographic evidence from fieldwork conducted in Venezuela from 2003 to the present to discuss the tensions between the Afro-Venezuelan movement, fellow Bolivarian activists, and the Venezuelan state in the context of the Bolivarian Revolution. I argue that race-based organizing remains an important strategy for negotiating citizenship in the modern nation-state and that the Venezuelan case rests uneasily in scholarship on the African diaspora.

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