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


The Enduring Legacy: Oil, Culture, and Society in Venezuela
Miguel Tinker Salas
2009, Duke University Press
325 pages

VENEZUELA’S national landscape has been shaped above all else by oil, which has sculpted the country’s political and cultural development like a river cutting through rock. Accordingly, multinational oil companies hungry to develop the country’s resources promoted the idea that their interests were synonymous with national development – refining political skills that allowed them to adapt constantly to the requirements of different regimes. The role of the multinationals operating in Venezuela in dislocating populations and encouraging international migration throughout the Caribbean had a particularly profound effect on the region and its racial dynamics. In The Enduring Legacy, Miguel Tinker Salas has compiled a valuable history of the oil industry and its impact on Venezuelan national development in a work influenced by his own experience being raised in one of the country’s oil camps. This history helps to explain the genesis of local resentment against the behaviour of these corporations with imperial reach, as their own complex social and racial division of labour deriving from US, British and Dutch commercial and cultural priorities and practices left the Venezuelans themselves relegated to the position of day labourers. – GO’T

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