Miguel Tinker Salas: The Enduring Legacy: Oil, Culture, and Society in Venezuela

By Angotti, Tom | Canadian Journal of Latin American & Caribbean Studies, January 2010 | Go to article overview

Miguel Tinker Salas: The Enduring Legacy: Oil, Culture, and Society in Venezuela


Angotti, Tom, Canadian Journal of Latin American & Caribbean Studies


Miguel Tinker Salas

The Enduring Legacy: Oil, Culture, and Society in Venezuela

Durham, NC, and London: Duke University Press, 2009, xvi + 297 pp.

The arrival of Hugo Chavez to the presidency of Venezuela generated a good deal of interest in the United States, not least because this oil-producing nation is one of its largest oil suppliers. When Chavez was first elected to office in 1998 he sought to redefine the relationship between and among the nation's state-owned petroleum monopoly, Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), the Venezuelan government, and Venezuelan society. But more importantly from the US standpoint, he also sought to curb the powerful influence of the United States in his country. As part of his plan, Chavez insisted that PDVSA renegotiate contracts with foreign companies. He also challenged the powerful roles of both management and unions. The conflicts Chavez generated through the implementation of these and other reforms led to an ultimately unsuccessful coup attempt against his government in 2002. With the subsequent consolidation of his power after the failed coup, the vaunted independence of PDVSA was broken. Chavez declared that Venezuela would embark on a process of building socialism for the 21st century, a process in which oil would be the servant and not the master.

In The Enduring Legacy, Miguel Tinker Salas forces us to look beyond the facile generalities about oil-dependent economies such as Venezuela that many observers across the political spectrum have proposed. He closely examines not only how the oil industry changed Venezuelan society but also how society changed the oil industry. His cogently structured argument makes clear the impact of oil on the rest of the Venezuelan economy. He shows, for example, how the growth of the oil sector led to a decline in industry and agriculture and to other momentous social and cultural changes.

After abundant supplies of petroleum were found in the 1920s, the foreign corporations that monopolized its extraction, refining, and distribution functioned as relatively independent enclaves of power in company towns where they exercised virtual autonomy from the state. They hired North Americans and Europeans who were disproportionately white, reinforcing existing racial prejudices and importing a dose of North America's own structural racism. The oil monopolies provided most of the public services in the towns where they were located. Some of these towns started out as wild outposts but soon became planned communities following modern principles of rationalism. The unfortunate result in some cases was systematic social exclusion.

Tinker Salas shows how neocolonial economic relations evolved in Venezuela so that oil production, consumption, and distribution became intimately connected to the everyday lives of most Venezuelan citizens. Although only a tiny fraction of Venezuela's population has ever worked in the petroleum sector, it is clear that the industry has profoundly affected social and cultural life in urban and rural areas throughout the nation. While noted Venezuelan politicians and intellectuals have always decried the nation's economic dependence on oil, echoing the call by Venezuelan writer and social critic Arturo Uslar Pietri to "sow petroleum" by investing oil profits in manufacturing and agriculture, such a project has never materialized. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Miguel Tinker Salas: The Enduring Legacy: Oil, Culture, and Society in Venezuela
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.