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Heritage of Venezuela

Racial and Cultural Identity

There are two classes in Venezuela as it pertains to race and cultural identity. First the term mestizaje addresses part of the nation-building ideology, present in the collective imagination of the cultural and racial panorama. Mestizaje is defined as the notion of racial and cultural mixing, which consists of the complex ideas surrounding race, nation and multiculturalism. Three key areas and concepts relating to the mestizaje are: popular music, religious practice and familial relationships. These key areas serve to further explore and discuss how people experience the process of racial-cultural mixing.

Second being the Euro-Latin ancestry which accounts for 41% percent of Venezuela's lineage. The European groups that are the primary influence of this ancestry are Spanish and Italian. These influences can be seen in language and cuisine, among other things, through out the country. Other European groups that account for Venezuela's multi-ethnic society is Portuguese, German, French and Eastern European groups.

Venezuelans consider themselves to be emblematic of the Venezuelan identity as defined by their lineage part of Venezuelans being "Mestizos" the other majority, white of European descent. The merging of different racial and ethnic identities is not considered to be a real Venezuelan identity. This poses an interesting representation of national identity among Venezuelans, as the mestizaje in Venezuela represent about 49% of the total population.

Through academic analysis, the ideology reserved for racial-cultural difference emerges alongside the "spaces of sameness and homogeneity". The symbolics of origin, found in those indigenous to the land, exists alongside the symbolics of mixture. A valid point of tension is revealed to exist between the idea of sameness and difference in two ways. First, nationalistic ideologies of the mestizaje are assumed to be essentially about the creation of a homogeneous meztizo future, which also opposes the constructionist view of nation-building through racial-cultural diversity. Secondly, the mestizaje ideology is masked as an inclusive process, as some are eligible to become a mestizo, but, it is argued that in reality it is really an exclusive process as it marginalises blackness and indigenous alongside whiteness.

Understanding the key concept being a Euro-Latin nation also identifies the way in which Venezuelans view themselves within the context of Latin America.

Venezuelan Postage Stamps

The Venezuelan postage stamp, first issued a set of map stamps that were released in 1896. The Venezuelan stamp is partnered with the Guyanese map stamps, as they historically disputed a border called the Essequibo River territory. Additionally, over 19 different early Latin American postage stamps are studied for emphasis on their inter-country tensions, whether historical, political, ethnic, economic, or territorial. Several Latin American postage stamp images are available to view within a textual context, and many are not available electronically, including the Venezuelan and Guyanese map stamps.

The history of the postage stamp presents a historical context in which popular culture may be better understood. Analyzing these smallest icons of popular culture, Latin American postage stamps are significant to the means of a national and international identity as well as advertisement. Exploring and understanding the various disciplines that are involved in creating a postage stamp, such as semiotic messages, add to the historical, political and popular cultural [*] content. Whether it be national or international, postage stamps also serve to build upon the implications of each. Latin American postage stamps convey and carry historic and cultural messages that may or may not impact its popular culture and inter-country tensions.

The imagery on various Latin American postage stamps is truly fascinating. There are vast ranges of themes and signs that are confined to a small space on the various faces of Latin American postage stamps. Historical and cultural implications apply to each. As popular culture is multi-layered in various aspects of mass culture, further examination and critical thought may be pursued regarding these smallest icons of popular culture.

See also

Culture of Venezuela

Common descent


Racial purity

Racial mixing


List of people on stamps

History of Venezuela

Demographics of Venezuela


Wade, Peter. "Rethinking Mestizaje: Ideology and Lived Experience." Journal of Latin American Studies, 37:2 (2005) 239-259.

Child, Jack. "The Politics and Semiotics of the Smallest Icons of Popular Culture: Latin American Postage Stamps." Latin American Research Review, 40:1 (2005) 108-137.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Heritage of Venezuela