The Pyongyang Moment is Nigh

I’ve long had this hunch – just a hunch, really – that sooner or later, in a fit of ideological fervor, Hugo Chávez is bound to align Venezuela with North Korea. It just seems like the logical end that his long record of lunatic statements, far-over-the-top posturing, and senseless maximalism has been building up to…

FP suggests new friends for Chávez

Hugo Chávez has been included in Foreign Policy’s list of the world’s worst dictators. For any reasonable Venezuelan, this is just another embarrassment. For Chávez, it reads like a Facebook page: so many new friends to make! You know it’s coming: "Lukashenko, Ahmadinejad and Raúl are there, but Blaise Compaoré? Where have you been all…

The capital of Cumaná is Petare

BBC News has a video on the efforts to reduce crime in Petare. Reporter Will Grant toured with the Sucre police, and the piece is boiler-plate, a missed opportunity. Not helping to disguise the piece’s stench of journalistic tourism is its lack of precision. Petare is in the "state of Sucre"? It’s the "largest, most…

Aggravation Without an Upside

It takes a moment to digest the chart Setty puts up in his latest post. Overall, the Electricity Rationing measures the government imposed in the first half of the year did basically nothing to cut down electric consumption. They annoyed everybody, created this vaguely MadMaxish atmosphere of impending doom, but, overall, just didn’t cut consumption. (In…

Reflections on an interview I only sort of half watched

Oh, admit it: you didn’t watch the whole thing either. Who would!? Chavez’s blood pressure raising hour-long tussle with the BBC’s Stephen Sackur never risked showing us anything we didn’t already know. In a long series of evasions, ad hominem attacks, and sheer question begging tomfoolery, Hugo Chavez merely confirmed what we already know: that this…

Once every four years

It always goes like this. Every four years. I think I’m too old for it. I tell myself it’s all just a bunch of marketing and hype, anyway. But every four years, it gets me. I’m not proud of it. I want to think I’m an adult. But then I see a clip of Marco…

Lights on…! (por ahora)

Hugo Chávez just announced the suspension of enforced blackouts across the country. The rationing scheme was triggered by Venezuela’s electricity crisis. The suspension coincides with an increase in the reservoir levels in the country’s main dams…but also just happened to come a day ahead of the World Cup. Coincidence? Nah… Good news notwithstanding, don’t get…

Dando bandazos…

By my watch, it’s 6:23 a.m. in Caracas. The Central Bank’s new solution to all our Forex woes – the  "Transaction System with Foreign Currency Assets" (SITME) – is supposed to go into operation in just over two and a half hours. And they still haven’t published the "bands" – the upper and lower limits on…

Annualized May Food Inflation: 47.6%

INE’s May inflation report is out now. The headline number, 2.6% is a lot better than April’s, but still high: on an annualized basis, it’s still-climbing, and now over 30%. More politically sensitive than the headline number is the food category, which INE has on 3.3%, or a staggering 47.6% on an annualized basis. Is…

May Inflation Number: Cesnared! (UPDATED)

You know how, normally, each months’ inflation figures get published on the first working day of the following month? Right. Did anybody else notice that we’re eight days into June already and the May inflation numbers still aren’t out? Sure, Elías Eljuri talking airy non-sense about his hopes and dreams, that we’ve got. But an actual…

Chabuki watch, #5

The attempts to convince Venezuelans he’s just a middle-of-the-road guy are not restricted to economics. As the fat man said yesterday, while a chavista "priest" blessed him by creepily fondling his head on TV: "Christianity and socialism can perfectly go hand in hand through the roads of history." Ugh. (Hat tip: JesusRZ)