The Venezuelan consulate in Boston is co-sponsoring two screenings on Saturday of a prize-winning, controversial Irish documentary film about the attempted coup that nearly ousted President Hugo Chavez in 2002.
The 2003 film, "The Revolution Will Not be Televised," was made by an Irish film crew that happened to be in Caracas, the Venezuelan capital, in April 2002 when the opposition tried to depose the elected president. After two days of confusion and unrest, Chavez was restored to office.
The film's executive producer, Rod Stoneman, will be at the screenings -- and will discuss his 2008 book, a case study about the Venezuelan media's relations with Chavez, and about the controversy the film generated. Stoneman is director of the Huston School of Film and Digital Media at the National University of Ireland in Galway.
The documentary explores the role of the Venezuelan media, and especially the privately owned television channels, in the opposition's efforts to undermine the populist president since he took office in 1998 (he was reelected in 2000 and 2006.) The film has won numerous awards at film festivals, although its critics dismiss it as propaganda supporting what they say is an increasingly authoritarian government.
Chavez, who himself led an attempted coup against the elected president in 1992, has built his political power on support from the Venezuelan working class, which had long felt excluded and persecuted by the country's small, wealthy elite.
The documentary and discussions will take place Saturday, Sept. 19:
--At 12:30 pm. at Lower Mills Branch Library, 27 Richmond Street, Dorchester, and;
--at 4 p.m. at Community Church of Boston, 565 Boylston St, 2nd Floor.
Brazilians have become a major presence on Martha's Vineyard. In the British newspaper the Financial Times, journalist Daniela Gerson tells the fascinating back story, starting with Lyndon Johnson Pereira. He went to the Vineyard in 1986, worked 100 hours a week and started a small restaurant. He went home 18 months later, but he also spread the word among his friends and relatives. More than 20 Brazilians arrived on the island from his home village alone.
Now the Vineyard is home to about 3,000 Brazilians, Gerson writes. The newcomers have not always found Vineyard life to be smooth sailing. Tensions have emerged at times, not with the island's elite summer population but with its year-round residents whose jobs have been taken by immigrants.
Gerson also goes back to Brazil and finds Pereira, now 46, who is "a pillar of Goiabeira, teaching at the local school and running a community radio station in his free time. He lives in one of the grandest buildings in town, a pink Italianate house complete with pool, two refrigerators and a Jacuzzi." She explains how that came about -- part of the bigger story of immigration, legal and illegal, to and from the United States.
The story of Brazilian immigrants settling in the Boston area, building careers and families and communities, has been well-documented over the years.
My Globe colleague, Maria Sacchetti, has now taken the story forward with a fascinating account in yesterday's Globe of how substantial numbers of Brazilians have opted to go home after spending years in Boston. Some have struggled back home just as they struggled here; but some have been quite successful.
Sacchetti traveled to one of the central departing points for Brazilian emigrants to Massachusetts, in the northern state of Minas Gerais. She met people who are ready to turn around and come back to the US, and people who are happy to have returned. She traveled to towns including Governador Valadares -- nicknamed Valadollars for the US cash that immigrants send home to relatives there. And she took pictures showing "Joe's American Bar and Grill," which was opened by a returning immigrant, but closed down a few months ago.
It's a valuable perspective that will be useful as the immigration debate moved ahead. The story already has generated more than 100 comments on-line, a sign of the emotions the issue stirs.
Peruvian-Americans in the Boston area are pulling together to assist the victims of a mudslide caused by an earthquake in a Peruvian village. The mudslide on April 5 in the town of Yanahuanca in the Andean province of Pasco killed four people and injured many more. Students are studying in tents because their school was destroyed, along with a medical center.
Organizer Dr. Olga Lattarulo says the Peruvian American Community, or COPEA, is trying to raise $10,000 to rebuild the school and clinic. The organization is holding a potluck fundraiser in Stoneham from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 11, and is also seeking donations and supplies. See the COPEA website for details and contact information.
The organization is sending a "Journey of Hope" to the village for a week in August, with doctors and other medical personnel donating their services and paying their own way to Peru. Dr. Lattarulo says the damage from the quake and mudslide was severe: 88 homes were destroyed in Yanahuanca and another 160 were badly damaged in the historic community, located in the Chaupihuaranga Valley.
About this blog
About James F. SmithJim Smith came home to his native Boston in 2002 to become the Boston Globe's foreign editor after spending 22 years abroad. He was previously based in Buenos Aires and Mexico City for the LA Times, and in Johannesburg, Tokyo and The Hague for the AP. In 2007 he became the Globe's national political editor, coordinating presidential campaign coverage. He is a Yale graduate, and has an MBA. He is married to Maxine Hart and has two sons, Matthew and Daniel.
Is your organization holding an event? Post it on our calendar (use "worldlyboston" for the keyword).