Right Guard?

Reading my review of Randy Brewer’s book on  The New Republic, Alejandro Tarre demanded a right of reply. Isaiah Berlin once wrote that, “as an intellectual discipline, it is boring to read our allies or those who coincide with our point of views. It’s more interesting to read our enemies, those who really put to…

$%*& my Japanese wife says

My wife laughed hard at the tragic, yet still unmistakably funny story of the dozens of high-society Venezuelans coming back from a throw-the-house-out-the-window, no-expenses-spared Punta Cana wedding with lobster-induced cholera on the menu. Then, as an item on the Egyptian protests comes on the news and she sees me seething with envy at the possibility…

Finding the story in our squalid news

One of the things that I find most disappointing about the Venezuelan press is how they frequently miss the important aspects of the stories they pretend to report. Take, for example, this item on a recent opinion poll by respected pollster Datos. The headline is that 70% of Venezuelans reject the government’s policy of expropriating…

Transitional justice

A man makes millions of dollars helping Colombian guerrillas ship cocaine to hungry markets via Venezuela. Or he makes them through bribing financial institutions in order to exempt them from legal problems. Or he makes them by soliciting illegal kickbacks for certain government permits only he can give. The details are not important. What is important is…

A Manifesto for the Spanish-language blog

Over on CaracasChronicles-eE.com, Quico just posted an absolutely untranslatable manifesto of what exactly we’re aiming for with the blog in Spanish, filled with Orwell quotes, coños, and vainas. This, however, is going to be the exception. You should expect posts to pop up in English and Spanish, more or less at the same time. Until,…

Don’t think of an elephant!

Hugo Chávez has a new pet peeve. Whatever you do, do not call him a dictator! Today he showed how much it annoyed him, when he said that if the opposition behaves and stops calling him a dictator, he would be willing to meet with Zulia Governor Pablo Pérez. I guess this is how he negotiates: stop…

Introducing Caracas Chronicles en Español

Almost from the moment this blog launched – all the way back in the pre-YouTube internet Paleozoic of 2002 – people have been asking me when I’ll launch a sister site in Spanish. Today, that old dream is a reality. Caracas Chronicles en Español – now live at CaracasChronicles-eE.com – will open up the debate to…

Dismantling Allan Brewer-Carías

My review of Allan Brewer-Carías’s simply unreadable brick, Dismantling Democracy in Venezuela, is now up on TNR’s Book Review site. Fun bit: Perhaps Dismantling Democracy in Venezuela should be read not as constitutional analysis, but rather as a kind of archaeology of an entire displaced elite’s wounded sense of entitlement. Chávez has unfortunately been lucky in…

The early 2012 Jockeying Report

They may not be doing it publicly yet, but make no mistake about it: the opposition’s early hopefuls for the 2012 presidential nomination are already quietly but actively jockeying for position. Early polling – and standard, it’s-too-early-for-this-to-mean-anything caveats apply – apparently shows Miranda governor Henrique Capriles Radonsky well out in front of the pack, with…

Deconstructing Giusti

Do not miss Setty’s epic post on Luis Giusti and the brewing scandal at Colombian private oil company Alange Energy. It’s compelling and – despite Setty’s best efforts – incendiary. An absolute must read. As I wrote on Setty’s comment section, I can’t for the life of me understand why the Venezuelan government isn’t running…

¡Fuenteovejuna, señor!

Geolver Hernández. Luis Castaño. Ray Longaray. José Rafael Márquez Gamboa. Rafael Urdaneta. Luis Román. Jeferies Moreno García. Erwin Pulgar Barrios. Carlos Soto. José María Urdaneta Romero. No need to count’em – that’s 10 people. A few days ago, the local offices of the government land institute in Santa Bárbara, Zulia, mysteriously went up in flames.…

Talk about talking

As the government starts calling for dialogue, you may get a distinct feeling of déjà vu. After all, isn’t this the exact same thing Chávez did the last time he was looking at horrendous poll numbers? This got me thinking: what exactly came of the circus that was the Mesa de Diálogo between the government, the…