Revolutionary Venezuela is challenging centuries-old machismo prejudices

Revolutionary Venezuela is challenging the centuries-old prejudices of machismo and homophobia, the legacy of Spanish colonialism in Latin America. Yet as Heisler Vaamonde of the Revolutionary Gay Movement (MGR) told Green Left Weekly’s Kiraz Janicke and Federico Fuentes, they still have a way to go. Vaamonde is standing as a candidate outside of the official “Chavista” pro-revolutionary alliance for the December 4 National Assembly elections in Venezuela. He works in the office for the promotion of social rights in Alcaldia in Caracas and is also the coordinator of the Bolivarian Network of Homosexuals, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transexuals and Transgenders, and a strong campaigner against what he describes as the “Catholic neo-inquisition." On December 15, 2002, three years after the new constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela was adopted, President Hugo Chavez said on his weekly television program Alo Presidente that a big mistake had been made in 1999 during the National Constituent Assembly, when the rights of gays and lesbians were left out of the new constitution.