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Aaron Kappeler

Based on ethnographic fieldwork in the highlands of Barinas, this article investigates the impact of “twenty-first century socialist” policies on the Andean peasantry and the relationships established as part of Venezuela’s ongoing agrarian reform. The analysis explores the historical and material-cultural factors surrounding coffee production in the Andes and the dynamics that have shaped a small group of growers. It examines the recent efforts of the Venezuelan government to increase domestic coffee production and support internal growers, suggesting that attempts to insert the state into the rentier structure of the coffee economy have somewhat inadvertently reinforced a working-class consciousness. The ethnographic vignette illustrates the present relationship of state functionaries to coffee growers and narrates their analysis of the conditions, showing the contradictory effect these relations have on the social awareness of growers.