Political polarization in Venezuela: urban positions on Mision Zamora - Political opportunities and challenges

Fender, Jennifer
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University of Guelph

This thesis investigates the character of political polarization in Venezuela and the opportunities for, and challenges to, land reform, in an urban-industrial context. This study examines 'Misio?n Zamora', the current Venezuelan land reform initiative, through an analysis of 56 semi-structures personal interviews conducted with a cross-section of the population of Caracas, Venezuela. This dissertation argues that the Venezuelan context is not as challenging as expected to 'Misio?n Zamora'. The context offers both political opportunities and obstacles. Opportunities are based on less extreme and less ideological polarization than expected, which includes a significant political middle ground; support for the need for land reform and 'Misio?n Zamora', based on fundamental policy purposes; opposition based on implementation, rather than ideological reasons; and common ground between supporters and opponents of the reform and the government. Obstacles are dominantly based on implementation and stem from challenges in translating common ground into dialogue and decreased public polarization.

political polarization, Venezuela, Misio?n Zamora, land reform