Something unprecedented is happening in Venezuela. Since the election of Hugo Chavez in 1999 Venezuela has embarked on a profound and controversial project of reinventing society from within, changing a political and economic system that benefits the few and powerful to one that gives ordinary Venezuelans a seat at the table.
Now, for the first time, millions of Venezuelans have access to education, job training, housing, land, clean water, health care, and something maybe even more precious: dignity.
While the personality of Hugo Chavez monopolizes the headlines and the mainstream media reduces complex issues to simplistic soundbites, the reality of the Venezuelan revolution is complex, contradictory and ever-changing. With new spaces for political participation opened to grassroots social movements, once-marginalized Venezuelan citizens have come out of the shadows to demand an active role in society.