Over the last decade, Indigenous peoples and new social movements have produced the most profound and democratic transformation in the history of Latin America - the southern part of what Indigenous peoples call Abya Yala (the Americas). Some describe this moment as potentially post-capitalist and others as decolonial, suggesting the ways these changes challenge colonialism. Indigenous leaders like Bolivian President Evo Morales are contributing new ideas to solving global crises such as access to water and climate change. Unfortunately, many of these changes and proposals are almost unknown outside of the region because of the unequal access to and control over transnational media networks.
Venezuela is a world leader in opening media access to communities and establishing a continental network, Telesur, which offers perspectives on world news from the Global South. One of the major innovations introduced in the country has been the establishment of 700 Infocentros, which bring high quality internet, film, and citizens’ media training to urban and rural communities free of cost. Their project “Technological Literacy for Older Adults” received a 2010 UNESCO award for innovation in enabling some 1 million people to develop technology literacy skills.
People’s Media Venezuela presents a way of thinking about the role of participatory media in social transformation, by providing interviews with comunicadores sociales from different areas of the country who describe media projects that have released the energy, creativity and humour of diverse local communities constructing democracy amidst social change. For example, David Hernández-Palmar, Leiqui Uriana and Jorge Montiel (Wayuu) describe how their communities are using media for Indigenous self-determination. David visited Aotearoa in December 2011 to lead a workshop on Indigenous peoples and participatory media.
Article 16 of the 2007 UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples protects Indigenous peoples’ right “to establish their own media in their own languages and to have access to all forms of non-indigenous media without discrimination”.
Produced by Kathryn Lehman and Geraldene Peters
Edited by Josie McClutchie
First screened at LASA, San Francisco, 2012