Twenty one years ago yesterday

As we reach the final of February’s three unavoidable political aniversaries, here’s a question you seldom hear raised: what was Venezuela like on February 26th, 1989? Well, lets see. We had an economy that had stagnated for years, reversing most of the gains achieved from 1958 to 1980. The economy lumbered under massive microeconomic distortions created…

The Judges are the Thing

The more I look at it, the more I’m convinced that what’s truly important about IACHR’s report on Democracy and Human Rights in Venezuela is its heavy emphasis on political meddling in the Judiciary. Deplorable as the abuses detailed in the rest of the report are, the gutting of judicial independence really is the crux of…

“As something of an expert in ‘pure excrement’, I can confidently say‚Ķ”

Non-news doesn’t get any more non-newsy than Chávez’s blanket dismissal of OAS’s extensively researched, carefully drafted 300-page report on Democracy and Human Rights in Venezuela as "pure excrement." This kind of non-response response, which olympically skips over the whole sordid business of, y’know, acknowledging the existence of specific allegations, facing them forthrightly and coming up…

Um, that’s because … there wasn’t one!

Whopper of the day: "The Fourth Republic (Translation: the governments prior to Chavez) did not carry out the necessary investments to solve the country’s electricity crisis."  Vice-President Elías Jaua at the National Assembly today. Whatever happened to El Niño being the cause of the crisis?  Update: Boludo Tejano, in the comments section, FTW: "Similarly, Abraham Lincoln did…

It’s a ploy

I can see it now. Foreign journalists in Venezuela beginning to board the Henry Falcón bandwagon, naming him Chávez’s strongest rival, clapping away at their keyboards discussing "chavismo sin Chávez." I can practically hear the chitchat in the bakeries of Las Mercedes, in the halls of plush condos in La Castellana, where the Marialejandralopeces of…

Judge For Yourself

While a handful of high profile cases of political interference in the courts monopolize our attention, the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights‘s 2009 report on Democracy and Human Rights in Venezuela shows just how widespread these kinds of practices have become. The report notes 64 cases of judges who were either suspended from their jobs or…