Lessons

Visualizing Post-Chavez Venezuela

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A National Police officer behind a riot shield is pushed backward by a crush of demonstrators during the March of the Empty Pots in Caracas in 2014, which coincided with International Women’s Day. Image by Natalie Keyssar. Venezuela, 2014.

A National Police officer behind a riot shield is pushed backward by a crush of demonstrators during the March of the Empty Pots in Caracas in 2014, which coincided with International Women’s Day. Image by Natalie Keyssar. Venezuela, 2014.

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Richard and Elixa and their two daughters. Image by Natalie Keyssar. Venezuela, 2016.

Richard and Elixa and their two daughters. Image by Natalie Keyssar. Venezuela, 2016.

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Venezuela Keyssar 1

A young protester wears a sign that reads 'Venezuelan Student' in the center of San Cristóbal, the city on the border of Colombia where massive protests first began in 2014. The 'student' label is a response to allegations by Nicolás Maduro's government that protesters are not students at all but paid imperialist infiltrators being used to destabilize the country. Image by Natalie Keyssar. Venezuela, 2016.

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Venezuela Keyssar 2

LEFT: In Caracas, a young girl walks out onto her rooftop to watch her brothers fly kites over Antímano, the slum where they live. RIGHT: A ray of light cuts through Altamira, an upper-class enclave of Caracas. Images by Natalie Keyssar. Venezuela, 2016.

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Venezuela Keyssar 3

LEFT: A tree stands in a small park near a polling place in Catia, a neighborhood of Caracas, the day government supporters lost their majority to the opposition in parliament. RIGHT: A family eats at a restaurant in Antímano, Caracas. Images by Natalie Keyssar. Venezuela, 2016.

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Venezuela Keyssar 4

LEFT: A young pregnant woman in her room in El Carpintero, a section of Petare, a large urban district in Caracas. RIGHT: A rainbow arches over part of Cordillera de la Costa Central, a mountain range that divides Caracas from the Atlantic Ocean. Images by Natalie Keyssar. Venezuela, 2016.

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Venezuela Keyssar 5

A National Police officer behind a riot shield is pushed backward by a crush of demonstrators during the March of the Empty Pots in Caracas in 2014, which coincided with International Women’s Day. Image by Natalie Keyssar. Venezuela, 2014.

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Venezuela Keyssar 6

Gang members from western Caracas pose for a portrait at one of their stash houses. Image by Natalie Keyssar. Venezuela, 2016.

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Venezuela Keyssar 7

A woman picks up a bag of leaves used as a barricade during a protest and throws it on the ground, shouting with rage. Image by Natalie Keyssar. Venezuela, 2016.

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Venezuela Keyssar 8

A team of medics drives an injured protester out of Altamira Plaza. Image by Natalie Keyssar. Venezuela, 2016.

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People play in a park near a polling place on a parliamentary election day in the capital. Image by Natalie Keyssar. Venezuela, 2016.

 

Common Core Standard:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7: Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

Objective:

You will be able to analyze how journalist Natalie Keyssar uses images to visualize the human impact of the socioeconomic changes in Venezuela in order to select and describe an image that encapsulates the economic struggles facing Venezuelans.

Warm-up:

Write your responses to the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. Be prepared to share your responses with the class.

  1. How do you get your food throughout the day? Describe the process of how you and your families get your groceries.

  2. Write out the steps you take to get to school. What is the most challenging part of your commute to school?

  3. What was the impact in your community when your country changed leaders? What impacts (if any) did the change of leaders have on your daily life?

Introducing the Lesson:

In this lesson, you will investigate how a recent change in leadership in Venezuela has impacted working class Venezuelans by examining reporting from photojournalist Natalie Keyssar. In a summary of her project Keyssar states, “With my photography, I really hope to show and make the viewer feel a little bit of the difficulty and frustration of trying to work and get to school and do your commute...which is hard while navigating these economic distortions."

  1. Predict: What does Keyssar mean when she says “economic distortions”?

  2. Predict: How do you think the politics and economy in Venezuela could be impacting the daily lives of Venezuelans?

  3. Predict: Keyssar says that she hopes to share the “difficulty” Venezuelans face using photographs. Look at the images below and respond to the following on a separate sheet of paper:

    1. What do you see in the image? What is the feeling of the image?

    2. What do you think is happening in the image? What difficulty might the subject be facing?

Introducing Resource 1: “Meet the Journalist: Natalie Keyssar”

  1. Watch the video “Meet the Journalist: Natalie Keyssar” and answer the comprehension questions. Be prepared to discuss your responses.

  2. Watch the video again and take note of what photos she included in the video.

    1. Who/What are the subjects of the photos?

    2. What stories do they tell?

    3. How, if at all, do they achieve Keyssar’s goal of humanizing the economic situation in Venezuela?

    4. How do the photos support what she says in the video?

Introducing Resource 2: “Venezuela’s Days of Upheaval”

Review the article “Venezuela’s Days of Upheaval,” which was published in California Sunday Magazine. As you read, take notes of the following:

  1. What is the main idea of each section of the article?

  2. How does Keyssar use photos to visualize each idea?

  3. If you could only choose one photo to represent each idea, which photos would you choose?

Be prepared to share your responses with the class.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What image struck you and why?

  2. What image best tells the story she is trying to tell?

  3. What do you want to know more about?

  4. How does your life compare to the subjects of the reporting?

Extension Activities:

  1. Visualizing stories

Read the article “Post-Chavez Venezuela,” which was published in Vice News by Natalie Keyssar. Select three photos from the accompanying slideshow and write a short explanation of why you think Keyssar chose the image to achieve a specific purpose. Be sure to include details from the article in your explanation.

  1. Connecting to the lives of Venezuelans

Read the article “Post-Chavez Venezuela,” which was published in Vice News by Natalie Keyssar. Write a short reflection comparing your daily routine to the routine of a subject of Keyssar’s reporting.

  1. Writing from images

Review the article “Post-Chavez Venezuela,” which was published in Vice News by Natalie Keyssar. Select an image from the article and write a letter from the perspective of the subject of the image to a student from the United States. Consider the following as your write your letter:

  1. Who would the subject be writing to and why?

  2. What details from the article would the subject include?

Educator Notes: 

This lesson plan is written to be explored independently by students, but also includes opportunities for larger group discussions. If you would like to connect students directly with journalist Natalie Keyssar over Skype, contact the education department at Pulitzer Center by emailing education@pulitzercenter.org.

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