The number cruncher

Juan Cristobal says: – In recent days, Hugo Chavez named former Finance Minister Nelson Merentes to head Venezuela’s Central Bank. The move would not be chavista if it wasn’t controversial, as there was no public hearing on Mr. Merentes’ nomination. Most of the criticism stems from the fact that Merentes is not an economist –…

The problem with the hero theory

Quico says: I do realize there’s one fairly basic problem with the “hero” theory of Venezuelan redemption: it relies, ultimately, on power’s sense of shame. Ghandi’s campaign, in India, had power because London could be shamed into changing its actions. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. relied on northerners’ sense of shame about what was happening…

Heroes

Quico says: Juan Forero’s report for the Washington Post on the growing crackdown against the opposition paints a dismal picture of the extremes to which the government’s strategy to criminalize opposition is going. It’s worth a read, in part, to get a feel for the way the tone of US coverage on Venezuela is shifting…

Email delivery news

Quico says: I’ve just realized for the last who-knows-how-long, the little sign-up form on the right for Email delivery hadn’t been working. It’s now fixed. If you want to get each day’s new posts delivered to your inbox, just enter your email address and follow the confirmation instructions. Sorry for any inconvenience this may have…

Corruption? What corruption?

Quico says: How can it be that the government only prosecutes corruption cases when the accused are Chávez opponents? It drives me batty. Nothing chavismo does makes my blood boil like the partisan use of anti-corruption legislation. Considering ours is a government virtually specialized in coming up with innovative ways of making my blood boil,…

A comprehensive theory of ChávezTime

Quico says: Chavismo, as the saying goes, is “more-of-the-same, only worse”. It’s one my favorite tropes on the Chávez era. What I like best about that reduction is the way it focuses attention on the too-often overlooked continuities between puntofijismo and chavismo. The trouble, I think, is with the last bit. How much worse, exactly?…

Chavez as Annie Wilkes

Juan Cristobal says: – First came Columbus. Now … Gallegos! El Universal is reporting that the bust of Rómulo Gallegos, first Venezuelan in the modern era to be elected president by popular vote, is no more. Gallegos’ bust has been banished from the grounds of Miraflores Palace and has been replaced by the bust of…

Our Constitution up in flames

Juan Cristobal says: Freedom of expression. The right to elect officials. The right to a fair trial. Freedom of religion. Those all sound swell, don’t they? They are but a few of the rights constitutionally guaranteed to the lucky citizens of…North Korea. One characteristic of dictatorships is that the rights enshrined in their Constitutions are…

April 11th: Putting it all together

Listen to my interview with Brian Nelson, author of The Silence and The Scorpion, here.Quico says: Seven years on, the events of April 11, 2002, haunt Venezuela as much as they ever did. The drive to mythologize the April Crisis began as soon as it ended, and the more time passes, the less we seem…