A Starving Revolution: ID Cards and Food Rationing in Bolivarian Venezuela

Main Article Content

Jose Ragas

Abstract

In this essay, I examine the controversy around the “Carnet de la Patria,” a national identity card issued in Venezuela in December 2016. I argue that this ID card belongs to a larger project of surveillance and regulation of identity developed by the Bolivarian Revolution and implemented by the late Hugo Chavez and continued by current president Nicolas Maduro. Amid its worst economic crisis, the government claims that the new ID card will allow citizens a better access to goods from supermarkets, replacing the fingerprint system (“captahuella”) that provoked massive protests in 2014. Opponents to this document have highlighted the parallel with the cards that exist in Cuba (“ration books”), and the manipulation of the database system to benefit only those who support the government and are already registered in previous official databases. The Venezuelan case provides an intriguing scenario that defies the regional region addressed to provide personal cards to undocumented groups. It also provides valuable comparative lessons about the re-emergence of surveillance technology and identity cards in modern authoritarian regimes.

Article Details

How to Cite
RAGAS, Jose. A Starving Revolution: ID Cards and Food Rationing in Bolivarian Venezuela. Surveillance & Society, [S.l.], v. 15, n. 3/4, p. 590-595, aug. 2017. ISSN 1477-7487. Available at: <https://ojs.library.queensu.ca/index.php/surveillance-and-society/article/view/6655>. Date accessed: 17 oct. 2017.
Keywords
Surveillance; ID Cards; Technology; STS
Section
Articles

References

Barrera Tyszka, Alberto & Cristina Marcano. 2007. Hugo Chávez sin uniforme. Mexico City: Debate.

Carnet. n.d. ¿Qué datos se obtendrán con el Carnet de la Patria? http://www.carnetdelapatria.com/datos

Carroll, Rory. 2013. Comandante. Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela. New York: The Penguin Press.
CEIMS. n.d. Misión Identidad. http://ceims.mppre.gob.ve/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=43%C2%A0:%20mision-identi

CNN en español. 2017. ¿Para qué sirve el Carnet de la Patria en Venezuela? January 25. http://cnnespanol.cnn.com/video/cnnee-pkg-osmary-carne-de-la-patria-venezuela-racionamiento-tarjeta/

Comando Central Bolivariano. 2017. Reorganización para profundizar la ofensiva revolucionaria. Boletín 50. http://www.psuv.org.ve/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Bolet%C3%ADnN%C2%B050.pdf

Coronil, Fernando. 1997. The Magical State. Nature, Money and Modernity in Venezuela. Illinois: The University of Chicago Press.

El Universal. 2017. “Maduro: Carnet de la Patria es un mecanismo para mejorar las misiones”. January 22. http://www.eluniversal.com/noticias/economia/maduro-carnet-patria-mecanismo-para-mejorar-las-misiones_636346

Finn, Daniel. 2017. The Unfinished Revolution. The Jacobin. May 22.
https://jacobinmag.com/2017/05/unfinished-business

Krauss, Clifford. 2017. What to Make of the Volatility. The New York Times. May 15.
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/business/energy-environment/oil-prices.html

Oré, Diego. 2016. ‘Patriotas cooperantes’: otra arma del chavismo contra los opositores. La Nación (Buenos Aires). January 30. http://www.lanacion.com.ar/1866651-patriotas-cooperantes-otra-arma-del-chavismo-contra-los-opositores

Oré, Diego. 2016. Venezuela’s state informers: patriots of snitchers?

Reuters. January 29. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-informers-insight-idUSKCN0V71CT

Privacy International. 2016. The Right to Privacy in Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of).
http://hrp.law.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/venezuela_upr2016.pdf

Prodavinci. 2017. El hambre y los días. March.
http://prodavinci.com/especiales/el-hambre-y-los-dias/index.html

PSUV. 2017. Carnet de la Patria permitirá consolidar conquistas sociales, económicas y políticas del pueblo. January 19. http://www.psuv.org.ve/temas/noticias/carnet-patria-permitira-consolidara-conquistas-sociales-economias-y-politicas-pueblo/#.WSG01BPytE5

Salmerón, Víctor. 2017. “¿Cómo el gobierno utiliza la escasez como arma política?” Prodavinci. May 20. http://prodavinci.com/blogs/como-el-gobierno-utiliza-la-escasez-como-herramienta-politica-por-victor-salmeron/

VTV. 2017. Gobierno venezolano prevé que cinco millones de jóvenes obtengan el Carnet de la Patria. February 19. http://vtv.gob.ve/gobierno-nacional-preve-que-cinco-millones-de-jovenes-obtengan-el-carnet-de-la-patria/