David Smilde

Senior Fellow
Areas of Expertise: 
Venezuela, social movements, civil society, religion, socialism

David Smilde is a senior fellow at WOLA specializing in Venezuela. He is the Charles A. and Leo M. Favrot Professor of Human Relations at Tulane University and moderates the WOLA Venezuela Politics and Human Rights blog. His research focuses on social movements, human rights and culture in Venezuela. He is currently working on a book manuscript called Venezuela’s Transition to Socialism: Politics and Human Rights under Chávez, 2008-2012.

Professor Smilde has researched Venezuela for the past twenty years. He has taught at the Universidad Central de Venezuela and the Universidad Católica Ándres Bello. From 2010-2012 he was the Chair of the Venezuelan Studies Section of the Latin American Studies Association.

Professor Smilde’s edited volume (with Daniel Hellinger) Venezuela’s Bolivarian Democracy: Participation, Politics and Culture under Chávez (Duke 2011) looks at forms of citizen participation in contemporary Venezuela. His book (with Margarita Lopez Maya and Keta Stephany) Protesta y Cultura en Venezuela: Los Marcos de Acción Colectiva en 1999 (FACES-UCV 2002) looks at Street protest in the first year of the Chávez government.

For press requests or to contact David Smilde, please email press@wola.org.
  • Ph.D University of Chicago
  • MA University of Chicago
  • BA Calvin College
In the News: 
Selected Publications: 
  • “Participation, Politics and Culture: Emerging Fragments of Venezuela's Bolivarian Democracy.” In David Smilde and Daniel Hellinger (eds). Venezuela’s Bolivarian Democracy: Participation, Politics and Culture under Chávez. Durham: Duke University Press. 2011

  • “State and Society in Socialist Venezuela.” Review essay of Sujatha Fernandes’, Who Can Stop the Drums: Urban Social Movements in Chávez´s Venezuela. Contexts. 2011

  • “Three Stages in the Chavez Government’s Approach to Participation,” Understanding Populism and Political Participation: The Case of Venezuela. Adam T. Stubitts (ed). Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Latin American Program. Washington D.C. 2008

  • “The Social Structure of Hugo Chávez,” Contexts, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 38–43. 2008

  • “Popular Publics: Street Protest and Plaza Preachers in Caracas.” International Review of Social History vol.49, Supplement pp.179-195. 2004.

  • "Los Evangélicos y La Polarización: La Moralización de la Política y la Politización de la Religión" Revista Venezolana de Economía y Ciencias Sociales, 2004, vol. 10, n° 2, (May-August 2004) pp.163-179.

  • “Protagonismo Cultural desde la Pobreza: Respuesta a Mikel de Viana.” Revista Venezolana de Economía y Ciencias Sociales, 7:1 (January-April 2001) pp.45-64.