04 April, 2006

Los indocumentados colombianos en Venezuela

So yesterday I posted on two articles criticizing the Chávez government's public spending policies. While I originally linked to the articles on El País' website, I eventually found more accessible PDF copies on the author's personal site. In fact, looking through his bibliography of works published I found one conveniently available paper titled "Los Indocumentados Colombianos," published back in 1971. The paper covers a topic that is pretty familiar to me, esp. seeings as this was the theme of my BA paper. Funny thing is I had trouble finding this paper during the research and writing of that BA thesis. What's more, once I found the author's PDF copy of the same unreachable paper (I had originally tried Worldcat and, if I remember correctly, even tracked a copy listed in one of Caracas' public or university libraries'--can't remember which--databases, only to find that it was physically missing), and after reading it, I realized that Gall had summarized some of the same principal points covered in my paper. To boot, he even quoted a bunch of primary sources, including personal interviews with indocumentados in Venezuela, something that would have offered my paper an ethnographic angle that was somewhat lacking. Moreover, Gall's paper would certainly have saved me some time and effort in honing my thesis and could have given me a clearer direction going into the newspaper research stint I carried out in Caracas over the summer of '04. Ironically, my search for Gall's paper back then was as indirect as the source of the single quote I extracted from the same paper for my own BA thesis and which I had found via a secondary source. Had I only checked the author's personal site at first, surely I would have elaborated my thesis and paper structure more quickly and succintly. But alas, such is the fate of many a research endeavour and, to be fair, it was ultimately my advisor who sat me down and walk me through the major topics that informed my paper's theme. Without him, much like without Gall, I would have been yet another stray undergraduate without a thesis to write on. Anyway, check out his site, he's published quite a number of works on Latin America, all conveniently classified by country, and his Venezuelan works, while dated, are worth a read.

No comments: