The Chavington Post

Dear lord almight. Painter, tank commander, baseball player, military ethicist, variety show host, coup plotter, poet and now…blogger! It had to come to this. It was just bound to. Welcome, Hugo! This is going to be great fun… (I wonder if his comments section’s going to be moderated…)

One Political Prisoner’s Ordeal

What the government is doing to Judge María Lourdes Afiuni staggers the mind. No other single story captures Venezuela’s slide to dictatorship quite like her’s.  Jailed summarily simply for doing her job, Judge Afiuni was sent to Los Teques Women’s Penitentiary, where she’s in the extraordinarily dangerous situation of having to wait for trial surrounded by…

Venezuela: Dictatorial PowerSlide in Progress

Tomorrow, March 18th, I’ll be participating in the BBC’s SuperPower Nation conference, live online, all day long. It’ll be really cool: there will be bloggers from all over the world there, some of whom you may even have heard of. To set things up for the conference, I thought I’d give new readers a quick run-down on where…

Spain has “full confidence” that Venezuela will collaborate in the fight against the terrorists on its payroll

Just a couple of days after Spanish newspaper ABC noted that a second high profile ETA sympathizer, José Antonio Egido Sigüenza, is also on the Venezuelan government’s payroll, a Spanish government spokesman reaffirms Spain’s "full confidence" that Venezuela will cooperate in the fight against ETA. Egido Sigüenza – whose day job is as a paleomarxist…

It’s all your fault

This last weekend was the bloodiest of the year in Caracas’ undeclared civil war: 67 people were murdered between Friday and Sunday.  The AFP account – which, by the way, makes its way to newspapers the world over – is gripping. People shot down while enjoying a beer with their friends, cab drivers shot down…

Overcoming Incongruence

For much of the last eleven years, one of the hardest-to-miss themes in the Chávez era has been the incongruence between the residual bits of liberal democracy in our political life and Chávez’s obvious, fawning admiration for every tin-pot dictator who came his way, from Ahmadinejad and the drug-addict who runs Lybia, to the child molester who…

Castrating the body politic

Think they could never censor the Internet? Think again. Think they won’t take away all the powers of the legislature if they happen to lose next September? Think again. At this rate, our best-case scenario is to have a majority in a hollow-shell AN next year. They’re laying the groundwork people. Guerra avisada … mata igualiiito!

Mordazas24

It’s been barely two days since Chávez’s launched on that rant about "regulating" internet forums the same way he "regulates" dissident radio stations and TV channels (i.e., with a padlock) and already Noticias24 has turned off its comments forum. (Yes, I know, that forum was populated mostly by the clinically insane, but still…Yikes!)

“Un proceso que va bien”

Teodoro Petkoff’s editorial today is, as usual, worth a read. In it, he takes stock of the opposition’s method for deciding unity candidacies. He finds a lot to like, but takes the opportunity to slam the naysayers. Petkoff reminds his readers the opposition umbrella group, the Mesa de Unidad, agreed that the "list" candidacies for…

Reassurance-Onslaught Cycle on Fast Forward

Is it just me, or is the chavista reassurance-to-onslaught-on-civil-liberties cycle getting quicker? Barely 48 hours had passed after Franco Silva, who heads the Nationalized telecom giant, CANTV, had calmly reassured us that the company’s plans to force all net traffic in Venezuela to go through CANTV by setting up a "single gateway" to the internet was in no…

Stand Corrected

Correction: El Nacional sneakily got ahead of me by running a correction for the article I accused them of not correcting, mooting pretty much this whole post. The one bright spot is, I didn’t need to change the title! Sigh…esta semana no pego una…     "We journalists are human, and as such, we make…

Outbreak of Sanity at Military Intelligence

Bogota’s El Tiempo has obtained a leaked copy of the Venezuelan Military Intelligence Directorate (DIM)’s strategy vis-à-vis Colombia’s presidential election. The thing is…remarkably sane. Featuring the kind of cool-headed assessment of the situation we so seldom see from the public face of the Chávez government, the document shows a DIM that’s well aware there’s little they…

De repente se nos olvidó…

It’s now been a month and a bit since the first and – AFAIK – the last broadcast of "Suddenly…Chávez", the "new" Chávez radio show launched with such fanfare ("as part of the artillery of thought") in early February. When you think about it, it’s pretty amazing: the show was aired once before everyone forgot all about…