his book would not have been possible without the generosity, hu-
and patience of my friends in the Caracas barrios, and I owe
them a great debt. Yajaira Hernandez and Johnny Moreno were my guides,
my hosts, my good friends, and my rock through the various ups and
downs of field research. Without them to come home to every night and
share my stories over a meal of arepas, my experience in Caracas would not
have been nearly as rewarding. Their friends, family, and neighbors who
also extended hospitality to me included, among many others, Damarys,
Amarilys, Zulay, Alexis, Ricardito, Palmiro, and Tito. I was also very lucky
to have the friendship and guidance of the novelist and community jour-
nalist José Roberto Duque, ‘‘el embarcador,’’ who introduced me to a large
number of the people who would become my close collaborators in his
native 23 de Enero and in La Vega.
I owe many thanks to the folks and organizations in each of the parishes
where I worked. In 23 de Enero, I would like to acknowledge Gustavo
Borges and Susana Rodriguez, as well as the camaradas of the Coordina-
dora Simón Bolívar, especially Juan Contreras and Guadalupe Rodriguez.
In La Vega, there are Freddy Mendoza, Carmen Pérez, and all the vecinos
from the Carretera Negra; Williams Ochoa and others from the Grupo
Autoctono de la Vega; and Edgar ‘‘El Gordo’’ Pérez and those from the
Grupo Caribes de Itagua. In San Agustín, there is Jesus ‘‘Totoño’’ Blanco
and his group Tacusan. Antonio ‘‘Pelon’’ Marrero, and Carlos Palacios. The
community radio folks also extended a great deal of help to me in my
research, especially Carlos Carles, Rafael Fernandez, Madera, Carlos Lugo,
and Fernando Pinto.
Although being immersed in the field often felt far from the halls of
academe, I had some fruitful and engaging interactions with scholars and
colleagues in Caracas that enriched my understanding of Venezuela. I owe
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