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Posts Tagged ‘Hugo Chavez’

Hugo Chavez Hobbles Venezuelan Publishing

chavezlineas.jpgBetween roving book squadrons and his international book club urges, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has exerted an enormous influence on the literary scene in his country.

According to Publishing Perspectives, a recent change in government approval for books has hobbled the publishing industry. The Chavez government closely regulates foreign currency used to purchase imported goods, and the demand for foreign books has greatly exceeded the amount of book purchases approved by the government.

The article explains it more fully: “Venezuela’s non-governmental publishers and booksellers find themselves on the outside looking in, as the Chavez administration gives away thousands of copies of books like Victor Hugo‘s Les Miserables or the Diary of Che Guevara, and selling hundreds of other nationally produced and ideologically approved titles for under $2. Meanwhile, a lonely copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone sits on a bare shelf in a Caracas bookstore with a prohibitive price tag of $132.” (Link via, image via)

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Hugo Chavez Deploys “Book Squadrons”

9780142437230L.jpgIn Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez has launched a “Revolutionary Reading Plan.” Extending his book club urges, Chavez has given away thousands of free books and sent “book squadrons” around the country to urge citizens to read.

According to the BBC, the Venezuelan government has handed out thousands of free books, including “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes and “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo, encouraging citizens to read to improve the country. Eager readers lined up in the capital city for “hundreds of meters” to get their free copies of the Hugo classic.

Here’s more from the article: “[A] key part of the Reading Plan are thousands of ‘book squadrons’ … Each squadron wears a different colour to identify their type of book. For example, the red team promotes autobiographies while the black team discusses books on ‘militant resistance.’” (Via Book Bench)

The Hugo Chavez Book Club

51WVPTQ6JFL._SL500_AA240_.jpgVenezuelan President Hugo Chavez could become the Oprah Winfrey of political nonfiction, sending “Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent” rocketing up Amazon’s bestseller list–from #54,000 to #2 in a single weekend.

During a meeting on Saturday, Chavez handed President Barack Obama a copy of Eduardo Galeano‘s study of colonization and American influence in Latin America. Cable television pundits debated the gesture all weekend, lavishing unexpected attention on the book.

Here’s more from ABC News: “The book, first published in Spanish in 1971, offers a critique of the consequences of 500 years of European and U.S. colonization of Latin America … Banned in Uruguay and Chile when it was first published, ‘Open Veins of Latin America’ is considered a classic in Latin America.”