A nice demonstration of her skills

Juan Cristobal says: – Everyone knows Venezuelan women are beautiful and win lots of pageants. Like populists and ball players, beauty queens are one of those things that we seem to produce excellent specimens of, our own “non-traditional exports.” However, with the latest news coming out of Cuba, it seems like we’re gonna have to…

Ñapa Valley

Quico says: One source that’s quickly becoming a must-read for me is Política de Ñapa: Hernán Lugo Galicia’s PSUV gossip blog in El Nacional. Lets be clear here: the vast majority of of the gossip about the government in opposition media is woefully thinly sourced. Much of it is, I suspect, just plain made up…

Rosemont

Quico says: OK, so here’s my idea for a movie pitch: As we fade in, we see the old oil baron on his death bed, a picture of Comandante Chávez hanging sternly from the wall. As Ramirez struggles for breath, we hear him whisper his last word, two syllables that carry with them a lifetime…

Panic in the Swap Market

Quico says: I’ll own up, I have no idea what the hell is happening in the bolivar swap market. Some prominent Caracas exchange operators have stopped trading altogether on reports that one or more key accounts in the US have been frozen by court order. We hear reports of an “omnibus” account involved, which carried…

Choices, choices, choices…

Quico says: Now that el jefe has announced that there isn’t enough money to go around this year, it stands to reason that any spending increase has to be offset by cuts elsewhere. With that in mind, a simple question for Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro: are you planning to take Venezuela’s $2 billion contribution to…

The devil hates Prada

Juan Cristobal says: – Remember Chávez’s prophetic speech about how Cuba and Venezuela were sailing together toward the same “sea of happiness“? Funny, I doubt Havana Airport’s Duty-Free stores are as empty as the ones in Maiquetía (pictured left). Come to think of it, if the shelves for imported Scotch are as barren as the…

Electrifying

Quico says: In the current New Republic, Enrique Krauze writes a remarkable essay grounding Chávez’s authoritarianism in its historical context. Whether he’s covering familiar ground or striking off into what is – to me – entirely new territory, Krauze’s narrative always crackles with intelligence and insight. The elegance of his prose and the depth of…

Alí, meet Bernie. Bernie, Alí.

Quico says: It’s funny. Last year, when Bernie Madoff was caught fabricating reports designed to make it seem like he was still holding $50 billion worth of investors’ money even though, in fact, the money had already been spent, he was called the biggest con artist in history. This year, when Venezuelan Finance Minister Alí…

Lies, damn lies, and Fonden

Quico says: One aspect of this whole Economic Adjustment story that isn’t getting enough attention is “the development fund that didn’t bark”: Fonden. Sold to us for years as Venezuela’s “rainy day fund” which would shield the country in case of a fall in oil prices, Chávez picked a very odd time to go all…

Chávez Brain-Mouth Malfunction du Jour

Chávez says: “We’re going to face down the separatist intentions of the regional governments in Zulia, Táchira, Miranda, Nueva Esparta and the mafias that stand behind them.” …Zulia…ok, Táchira, I guess…Nueva esparta, maybe…MIRANDA?!!? WTF! Is this really what they figure Capriles Radonski’s secret evil plan is? An international border between Sabana Grande and El Rosal?!