That Slope Sure is Slippery

Another hat tip to Setty for pointing us to this pair of genuinely galling articles on the government’s decision to – triple horrified gasp – start charging tuition fees for Universidad Bolivariana language students. Retroactively! You know, back when the government started showing that it considered its contractual obligations about as binding as plasticine shackles,…

Kei-khronicles

For those of you who haven’t used up your 20 free NYT articles this month (on the 28th! for shame!), be sure to check out Simón Romero’s illuminating piece on Keiko Fujimori. It’s a thorough, balanced treatment. My conclusion? She still gives me the heebie-jeebies. (p.s., I wonder how that works at the NYTimes now:…

Under the Radar

Over at the Spanish-language blog, Quico talks about Chuo Torrealba and his indispensable blog. Worth a read. And while you’re there don’t miss Chuo’s inspired response.

DVD killed the Betamax politicians

Loyal reader GTAvex has been on my case for a few weeks. He thinks I’m unfairly maligning the old adeco-style rhetoric without acknowledging its benefits. Obviously, I’m not real sane when hardcore adequismo is at stake. These things are tribal. But that’s not to say that you can’t debate them. And I do think we…

Pablo Pérez Channels His Inner Adeco

So long as we’re looking for examples of presumptive oppo primary contestants on the stump, I thought it only fair to give Zulia Gobernor Pablo Pérez his chance in the form – admittedly – of a two year old clip: The body language, the shouty grandiloquence, the arrechito declamatory style…you can put whatever three letters…

The Eight-Lane Superhighway to Serfdom

Normally, I try to steer well clear of Hayekians. In contemporary discourse, Austrian Economics is the hobby horse of an extremist fringe of market fundamentalists: ferocious parrots with a one track mind centered on a single remedy to all economic ills. Personally, I’m on the center-left, with a strong emphasis on “center”. I think the…

>:( … :)

Notice how in this video, Leopoldo López goes from a furrowed brow to a smiling face, from ominous music to a more hopeful tune, from dark lighting to a brighter one. Visually, it tells a story. I’m not so sure about the message, but if the race for the opposition’s candidacy were decided on the sleekness…

The Hot Air Feedback Loop

So far, so yawn. In response to the U.S.’s Cotton Candy Sanctions against PDVSA (they look like they’re there, but the second you try to sink your teeth into them, they sort of dissolve into air), we’re getting the standard histrionics: an almighty Venezuelan hissy fit utterly unhinged from any reality-based assessment of what the sanctions…

Straight-Up Capitalism vs. Communism Deathmatch

It sure seems like Henrique Capriles’s plan is to put a straightforward defense of private property front and center, packaging it as a pragmatic solution to the problems facing everyday Venezuelans. In my book, he gets points for speaking directly to people’s aspirations for themselves and their families, for avoiding abstract/polarizing speech, for refusing to…

The Return of Depression-Inducing Economics

Reading N24′s sad little write-up on the virtual impossibility of finding a Vergatario (rough translation: penis-phone) in Venezuela these days, it strikes me just how soul crushingly depressing the very existence of the problem is. Venezuela is busily reliving a morass of planning-induced multiple production and distribution bottlenecks that was already thoroughly analyzed, discussed, dissected…

An open letter to Moisés Naím

Dear Moisés, I hope you won’t think it brash of me to use your first name. We’ve only met once, briefly, back in 1990 when I was an economics student asking you to come to a forum at our University. You don’t remember it, but I do. Still, I allow myself to treat you informally…

FARC: Setting the Standard for Eco-friendly Terrorism

Setty’s been having a rummage of his own through the FARC Files and digs up three tidbits, each more bizarre than the last. The whole Environmental Impact Assessment for Pipeline Bombing thang is too weird to have been made up. (Tip to FARC, though: if you want to burnish your green credentials, how about you…

Substance

There’s an old, in many ways justified, lament about how devoid of substance Venezuelan political discourse is, how conceptually thin it is, how divorced it is from deeper issues. What’s weird, though, is how comfortable some people are going straight from that lament … to making fun of Julio Borges for his unibrow. It’s like…