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Gringo

by Chesa Boudin

Gringocharts two journeys, both of which began a decade ago. The first is the sweeping transformation of Latin American politics that started with Hugo Chávez's inauguration as president of Venezuela in 1999. In that same year, an eighteen-year-old Chesa Boudin leaves his middle-class Chicago life -- which is punctuated by prison visits to his parents, who were incarcerated when he was fourteen months old for their role in a politically motivated bank truck robbery -- and arrives in Guatemala. He finds a world where disparities of wealth are even more pronounced and where social change is not confined to classroom or dinner-table conversations, but instead takes place in the streets. While a new generation of progress-ive Latin American leaders rises to power, Boudin crisscrosses twenty-seven countries throughout the Americas. He witnesses the economic crisis in Buenos Aires; works inside Chávez's Miraflores palace in Caracas; watches protestors battling police on September 11, 2001, in Santiago; descends into ancient silver mines in Potosí; and travels steerage on a riverboat along the length of the Amazon. He rarely takes a plane when a fifteen-hour bus ride in the company of unfettered chickens is available. Including incisive analysis, brilliant reportage, and deep humanity, Boudin's account of this historic period is revelatory. It weaves together the voices of Latin Americans, some rich, most poor, and the endeavors of a young traveler to understand the world around him while coming to terms with his own complicated past. The result is a marvelous mixture of coming-of-age memoir and travelogue.

Gringo: A Coming of Age in Latin America

by Chesa Boudin

Gringo charts two journeys, both of which began a decade ago. The first is the sweeping transformation of Latin American politics that started with Hugo Chavez's inauguration as president of Venezuela in 1999. In that same year, an eighteen-year-old Chesa Boudin leaves his middle-class Chicago life -- which is punctuated by prison visits to his parents, who were incarcerated when he was fourteen months old for their role in a politically motivated bank truck robbery -- and arrives in Guatemala. He finds a world where disparities of wealth are even more pronounced and where social change is not confined to classroom or dinner-table conversations, but instead takes place in the streets.

Understanding the Venezuelan Revolution: Hugo Chavez Talks To Marta Harnecker

by Marta Harnecker Chesa Boudin

Since assuming the Venezuelan presidency, Hugo Chávez has weathered a failed coup, economic sabotage, and other efforts to destabilize his presidency. Through it all, he has worked to steer Venezuela through a revolutionary process of Bolivarianism that is distorted by his right-wing critics and not particularly well understood by much of the left. In this series of in-depth interviews with Harnecker (Center for Research on Popular Memory in Latin America in Havana, Cuba), Chávez lays out his vision of the Bolivarian Revolution, touching upon topics of the role of the military in politics, his approach to foreign policy, the challenges of finding alternatives to neoliberal economic arrangements, his critics in the middle class and the media, party politics, and the failed coup.

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