Luciana Valentina’s father. Venezuelan. Renowned sociologist and political economist. Master in sociology of development. Researcher, environmental analyst and data scientist. Writer. Research Award Universidad Popular de las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo 2010. Gustavo Machado Sociopolitical Essay Prize 2015 and Librevista Essay Prize 2022.
What do you consider to be the main challenges of the cooperation sector at present?
Faced with a present and future that are becoming increasingly dystopian, if not downright catastrophic, the aid sector must stand as a definitive alternative to the corporate and governmental powers that are entrenched in logics that are leading us to such outcomes. Our goal must be to reclaim tomorrow as a better and sustainable place for all. To paraphrase the title of a well-known film, we must go Back to the Future, not as a source of fear but of hope.
How do you think they should be addressed?
We need vision. In addition to an international development community with commitment and courage, we need to map not only existing realities, but also possible and desirable ones, as a way to prevent what we must not let happen and to collectively push for what we, as a species, must pass on to those who will succeed us on this planet.
In my country, Venezuela, we have had to face extremely complex situations, which have been deeply debilitating and where there has even been a risk of social collapse. And yet, here we are rebuilding ourselves on the basis of understanding and solidarity. Experience teaches us that with the necessary counterweights and the right efforts, what seems fatally inevitable disappears and what seemed impossible ends up revealing itself. Overwhelm cannot be the spirit of the times. We must, however, strive for the opposite. This can be a good lesson for the international development community, which also needs to reinvent itself.