Jun 25 4:00 PM

The art of the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela

The socialist policies introduced under Chávez's so-called "Bolivarian revolution," from 1999 to 2013, has split the citizenry. Government supporters, including community groups known as colectivos, in poor and working-class areas are fervent in their support of Chávez's revolution and stand behind his elected successor and former vice president, Nicolás Maduro. Meanwhile, many in the country's upper and middle classes oppose government policies and some go as far as to call Maduro a dictator.

The latest Fault Lines episode, "Venezuela Divided," attempts to make sense of the country's polarized population one year after the death of Hugo Chávez. The film airs Saturday, June 28, at 7 pm Eastern time/4 pm Pacific time on Al Jazeera America.

The 23 de Enero neighborhood in Caracas is known as a colectivo stronghold, and a place where the police don’t enter. It’s also known for the murals painted by the different community groups. Some murals depict revolutionary slogans and figures from Latin America; others represent struggles around the world, both past and present.

Murals aren’t unique to the 23 de Enero neighborhood. They’re all over the city. You can see this exhortation of "Socialism" from the highway on the journey into Caracas from the airport.
Sebastian Walker for Al Jazeera America
"We need to do the impossible because every day others take care of what’s possible," is a slogan attributed to Simón Bolívar, the military leader who led Venezuela (and many other Latin American countries) to independence from the Spanish Empire.
Andréa Schmidt for Al Jazeera America
This mural depicts Simón Bolívar surrounded by well-known leaders of the FARC (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), the Colombian guerrilla movement.
Andréa Schmidt for Al Jazeera America
A portrait of FARC leader Manuel Marulanda with the slogan that translates to "Homeland."
Andréa Schmidt for Al Jazeera America
"Palestinian Statehood, Now!" demands this mural. Venezuela officially recognized the State of Palestine in 2009 and established diplomatic relations with the Palestinian National Authority.
Andréa Schmidt for Al Jazeera America
A mural commemorating the centennial of the Mexican Revolution, celebrated in 2010.
Sebastian Walker for Al Jazeera America
Emiliano Zapata was the leader of a peasant revolution and a major figure in the Mexican revolution. The vertical writing on the right reads, "Land and Freedom."
Andréa Schmidt for Al Jazeera America
"We will overcome!," reads this mural portraying Alí Primera. Known as “the people’s singer,” he sang folks songs about inequality and poverty in Venezuela until his death in 1985.
Andréa Schmidt for Al Jazeera America
In this mural, Hugo Chávez is depicted holding a semi-automatic rifle above the slogan, "Independence and Socialist Homeland."
Andréa Schmidt for Al Jazeera America

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In "Venezuela Divided," Fault Lines examines what's happening on the streets of Caracas more than one year after the death of Hugo Chávez. The film airs on Al Jazeera America Saturday, June 28, at 7 p.m. Eastern time. It will air again that evening at 10 p.m. Eastern and Sunday, June 29, at 2 a.m. Eastern.   

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