Lukashenko: your oil is in Lake Charles

A little nugget in my Inbox courtesy of a reader. You know how Hugo Chávez is always boasting that he wants to ship oil to other countries, how he wants to find other markets, bla bla bla? That’s the reasoning behind his deal to send oil to Belarus, governed by ally and fellow dictator Aleksandr Lukashenko.

Happy new taxes, human beings!

Two days before the New Year, Hugo Chávez’s economic svengali let everyone know they will be significantly poorer in 2011. Starting January 1st – yes, you have two days to prepare – no longer will the government sell some dollars at BsF 2.6 and other dollars at 4.3. The 2.6 rate is disappearing, and transactions that…

The Miami pallbearer

There he is in Miami, sitting in the front row at Carlos Andrés Pérez’s controversial funeral, photos courtesy of Noticias 24. And there he is, standing guard by the former President’s casket. We always knew Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma was CAP’s dauphin. What we didn’t know was how loyal he was to his mentor. This picture will…

The Banality of Incompetence

One story that should be getting more play abroad is the simply amazing tale of the oil Venezuela is selling to China for $5/barrel…only for the Chinese to turn around and sell it on to third-parties (read: gringos) at a markup of over 1000%. (And no, that is not a typo.) The whole crazy story, revealed in…

Under the Radar: Maracay’s Imminent Shitstorm

Here’s a story the ever Caracas-centric media’s barely noticed: the recent rains have left the heavily-polluted Lake of Valencia on the verge of a major flood. The water level is now just 17 cm. from the top of the levee protecting Maracay’s La Punta neighborhood, and still rising. The water involved is described as sewer-quality,…

Carlos Andrés Pérez – 1922-2010 – Fashion Victim

Carlos Andrés Pérez, who dominated Venezuela’s social democratic landscape for over a quarter of a century, has died at the age of 88, on Christmas day. CAP, as he was universally known, is harder to eulogize than most. Variously described as a corruption-enabling populist, a far-sighted visionary, a proto-Chávez, a champion of third world autonomy in the Cold…

Aló, ¿soberano?

Reader causetoujours has an idea: a Repeal Referendum. Article 74 of Venezuela’s Moribund Constitution says: “Laws may be repealed partially or totally when the repeal is petitioned by at least 10 percent of registered voters or by the President. Decrees (emanating from an Enabling Law) can be repealed in a Referendum if a repeal is petitioned…

The throwback

(A gift under the tree for our readers: this is an exclusive guest post by Alejandro Tarre, a talented, Caracas-based writer and blogger. Do check out his blog, if you haven’t already. Thanks Alejandro!) It’s hard to look at Latinobarómetro’s yearly regional polls without noticing the Venezuelan paradox. In the latest poll Venezuelans once again…

Breaking it down

Alek Boyd eloquently explains why Venezuela can no longer be considered a democracy.  The money quote: It is ironic that the debate about democratic deficit is mentioned in relation to a country that has had plenty of elections in the last 11 years. However, contrary to what Chavez’s apologists argue, many elections do not necessarily…

Clarity

Trying to pick out any one bit of Chávez’s 2010 Paquete Navideño (a.k.a. the current storm of lame-duck session laws) as the most unconstitutional of the bunch is a little like arguing about which player was the worst out of France’s 2010 World Cup squad: you could make a strong case for every single one…

Ledezimated

As if taking away their power to legislate wasn’t enough, today AN Chief Inquisitor Cilia Flores is announcing a Reform to the Rules on Debates inside the National Assembly. You know what comes next: the majority will decide who gets to speak and who doesn’t. The opposition deputies, the ones representing a majority of Venezuelan voters,…

Love and milk

It has long been known that the Southern shores of Lake Maracaibo contain some of Venezuela’s richest, most productive lands. But this is also a land seeped in violence, where work, love, and commitment to farming and cattle grazing run deep, so deep that the people involved don’t waiver when they need to put their…