Fahrenheit 058

ChavezOver at Foreign Policy’s Transitions blog, I try and explain just why Venezuelan parents are incensed. The value added:

In order to “promote participatory democracy,” the resolution states that all decisions in every school — public or private — must involve parents, teachers, students, workers, and even “the community,” represented by “communal councils.” Including communal councils in these decisions is done in order to “construct a new model of socialist society.” Many in the opposition view this as the last straw in a long line of attacks against the rights of parents to freely educate their children. While the government has talked of making schools epicenters of socialist indoctrination for years, they had not acted upon those wishes until now. Many thought the decree would never be implemented, but lately the government has started making good on its ill-favored promise, so the issue has come up again… with a vengeance.

Writing this one was a challenge – the problem has a lot of layers and details, and the concept of indoctrination can be hard to pin down. Luckily, the pictures of the new Constitution being distributed … made my job so much easier. Thanks for that.

19 thoughts on “Fahrenheit 058

  1. Juan, I sent you a draft of a ppt I was preparing. I don’t find the definite one but it shows a couple of shots of books ALREADY used (as of last year).
    There is a link at the ministry of Education, a link I was sending to our deputies several months earlier, where you could read a draft of the programme. I remember I told you back then and you couldn’t see a problem there. I did: there were specific mentions of “socialism” as part of the system. That is not a detail.
    That would never ever be accepted anywhere but in a dictatorship.
    Do we need more? The personality cult is bad but it is not even the worst part.


    • I don’t understand why it is only now that people are starting to react. They always leave it to the last moment.

      Here you have one of the drafts:

      Click to access d_27201_393.pdf

      Some fragments:
      “ promueve el respeto a la diversidad biológica, religiosa, étnica, cultural y de género donde la y el sujeto social convive con distintas concepciones de vida”
      (Maduro must have written that…la y el sujeto)

      “Se estructura para garantizar la formación ciudadana de las y los estudiantes en valores y actitudes ético-socialistas, fundamentada en los principios de la democracia participativa y protagónica, la independencia y la soberanía en sus distintas expresiones, tales como la soberanía alimentaria, territorial, cognitiva y tecnológica, así como los elementos constitutivos de la venezolanidad.”
      Completely against the constitution.


  2. Interference in education in the US is relatively common by both political figures and local boards pushing community values that aren’t always shared by the minorities within the community; Texas and Utah come to mind most often. Sometimes its pushed by the state (including some hilarious outcomes from the “Common Core”) but when push comes to shove, it gets settled in the courts. Why can’t Venezuela do tha….oh wait….

    Beyond the ridiculous propaganda aspect of the constant Bolivar/Chavez angle in the majority of the photos, there’s some comedy gold in the pictures. Some highlights:

    Awesome, small children with swords! That’s a message of peace and community. Does the kid with the scabbard have a moustache? Maduro Jr.?
    Igualidad. Not based on race, disability, or orientation. Nope! Its wholly a class thing!
    Libertad de Expresion! From the photo to real life: as long as the press and artists cover nothing of consequence which interferes with the editorial line of the gobierno.
    Venezeula por la paz y la vida, but still recognizing the disputed area.
    Vivienda. Seeing the quality with which some of the houses were built as part of the mision, would you want to live on the edge of a cliff in one of those? (Not that they’ll ever be built within our lifetime…)
    Democracia . With the fist of the President raised triumphantly in what appears to be a Nazi salute while flanked by various members of the chavista elite.
    Seguridad alimentaria: With a drawing of the entire stock of both the Mercal store and PDVAL warehouse included.
    Suprema felicidad. You will be happy, or we’ll threaten you with weapons.
    In the second to last photo, is that some subtle voter assistance going on there? I thought those sort of things didn’t happen at elections!

    And my wife wonders why I want to get my brilliant nephew out of the country where he can get a relatively non-indoctrinated education.


  3. I’m doing my PhD on Communal Councils next year so I find this article particularly interesting. It somewhat corresponds with what I want to argue in my dissertation. I’ll be following this story closely.


  4. Con Paciencia y salivita ….

    Time and money are on the regime’s hands. They push and recede tactically, but never abandon their strategic plans.

    The young, well prepared , generacion de relevo” is mostly emigrated.
    The relatively elderly, ” the orphaned parent generation” runs its demographic path.

    The Young need to be indoctrinated, and alienated, so that eventually their Chavista reality is their only reference.

    Welcome to Cuba hermanos.

    Meanwhile, a trillion dollars plus have helped to keep the wheels moving, buying consciences and keeping REAL opposition and resistance at bay.

    Venezuela’s central problem is one of avoidance! of not facing the depth and danger it is in, and in not defining the problem in true terms. The whole charade of the “MUD-Government” talks follows the same patterns.
    No mentions to Cuba, no accountability for the trillion plus USD’s wasted, no mention of the real issues.

    I feel really sad for my ex-pais.


  5. Anyone who would allow their child to rote learn anything is not my kind of parent.Anyone who would let government instill an ideology in their child, does not deserve to be a parent.

    Freedom to think ,speak, and reason to the best of one’s ability without regard for the status quot is the only education to be had.Everything else is indoctrination.


    • Una aclaración para aquellas personas (y algunos docentes), que aún creen que la educación en “neutral”

      “La enseñanza y el aprendizaje son prácticas profundamente políticas. Son políticas en todos los momentos del circuito: en las condiciones de producción (¿quién produce el saber?, ¿para quién?), en los saberes y en las formas mismas del saber (¿saber de acuerdo con qué plan?, ¿útil para qué?),en su publicación, circulación y accesibilidad, en sus usos profesionales y populares y en sus impactos en la vida cotidiana.

      Sin embargo, el discurso al uso sobre la educación no sólo prescinde de la naturaleza ideológica de la enseñanza y el aprendizaje, sino que excluye también del ámbito político la cultura, reduciéndola a un discurso puramente estético o a una llamada cuasi religiosa para celebrar los “grandes libros” y las “grandes tradiciones” de la llamada “civilización occidental””.

      Henry Giroux “La inocencia robada”.


      • Yes, there’s that notion, that all knowledge and learning is political and then there’s the sensible observation that someone once made that sometimes a rose is a rose. It would be a shame if we started teaching kids that roses did not exist, no? The question should be, what does one teach in a pluralistic, democratic society. I’d also add: before foisting an ideology on its children, the boligarchs behind all of this could at least demonstrate that they adhere to those understandings of the world…in this they fail completely.


        • Ideology is not thought,it is belief.The problem with belief is that people confuse it with thought.


  6. I began following this blog to learn about Venezuela which I have and hope to continue doing… Unfortunately I see a common thread in my own country, the USA where we too have folks who believe their politics have an exclusive lock on morality such that all non conforming views are illegitimate and immoral.


    • I would like to isolate a photo of the “Democracia” illustration, which also takes the cake. Can you suggest a way to do so?


  7. They had me at the Constitución Bolivariana emphasis, as if it’s no longer about a republic, let alone Venezuela.


  8. Just read a phrase from the tyrants manual : the unsophisticated you brain wash , the more sophisticated and dishonest you bribe , the sophisticated and honest your repress !! guess children are the easiest to brainwash .!!

    Education of course can have an ideological component , but if that component does not purport to place people in narrow mental cage where all thoughts are imprisoned then its like an open garden where every mind can take its own way to truth , thats an education where the ideological component can lead someone to become a believer in liberalism and another a believer in socially more regimented forms of life . Thats ok.

    Definitely not ok is where the ideology is extremely sectarian , virulent , and intransigent and wants to impose on everyone a single form of thinking to the exclusion of any other .

    No one wants to have their children raised to know tow to a very sectarian and narrow form of thinking . thats whats wrong with trying to impose on all educational institutions the regimes brand of sectarian so called socialism .


  9. These drawings in the constitution are an attempt to change the character of two dead Venezuelans. First, the drawings attempt to show Simon Bolivar as a close friend and supporter of Chavez. Simon Bolivar is dead and was a man of honor would never support a corrupt untruthful thief who ignored the constitution.

    Second, Hitler loved to be photographed with children but murdered 2 million children under age 18. I doubt that even the people close the Chavez would have trusted him with their children. The drawings with Chavez and children are sick. What is with the military uniform holding babies? If Chavez cared about children he would have made the future of Venezuela better. Drawings of Chavez daughters in their private jets or living in La Casona with $billion bank accounts would be more appropriate.


  10. Absolutely right: a picture is worth a thousand words. How utterly bizarre. I dropped out of a course on “myth ritual and symbol” when I was at the uni after the first class. Now almost regret it, it might have been useful for decrypting the anomalous belief system that is chavismo. Just some meandering thoughts….
    Chavistas regard the constitution as some kind of bible.
    Lacking an ability to accept or understand the world as is, chavismo perpetuates a magic realist alternative portrayal where politicians are saints. Fanciful nonsense.
    Children are the targets of their religion.


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