Share This Page

Textbooks rewrite history in Venezuela, critics assert

| Monday, June 2, 2014, 6:18 p.m.
REUTERS
Children read state-issued textbooks from the 'Bicentennial Collection' at a classroom of the Eleazar Lopez Contreras school in Caracas May 23, 2014. Venezuela's government has published dozens of new textbooks that glorify late president Hugo Chavez and belittle his adversaries, infuriating opposition critics who call them part of a campaign to indoctrinate school children. Originally introduced in mid-2011, the textbooks have become a hot-button issue again amid a broad state-run review of the education system that some fear could boost the ruling Socialist Party's imprint on classrooms. Picture taken on May 23, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: EDUCATION POLITICS)

CARACAS — Venezuela's government has published dozens of textbooks that glorify late president Hugo Chavez and belittle his adversaries, infuriating opposition critics who call them part of a campaign to indoctrinate children.

Introduced in mid-2011, the textbooks have become a hot-button issue again amid a broad state-run review of the education system that some fear could boost the ruling Socialist Party's imprint on classrooms.

“The government has made great efforts to redefine historic events with an ideological bent, and these books represent that intention,” said Juan Maragall, education secretary in the opposition-run state of Miranda.

The books describe Chavez as the man who liberated Venezuela from tyranny, at times making him appear more important than 19th century founding father Simon Bolivar. Bolivar was the inspiration for Chavez's self-styled socialist revolution.

The books present a 2002 coup that briefly toppled Chavez as an insurrection planned by Washington while playing down the role of opposition protests in this deeply divided country.

State officials argue the textbooks foment out-of-the-box thinking and critical questioning of the U.S.-led capitalist world order. They insist the bigger issue is the increase in the number of children in school while Chavez was in office.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.