Balance Sheet Kryptonite

It’s quite amazing: one of the biggest economic reforms of the last 14 years is to be unveiled today or tomorrow and, even now, the public has no real idea what it will say. Chávez’s long delayed reform the Organic Labor Law will have immediate, massive consequences for the lives of most Venezuelan families and…

Chain of fools

An excellent initiative from the folks at Monitoreo Ciudadano: el cadenómetro. A page exclusively designed to keep track of the number of hours Chávez is on national radio and TV campaigning. He has already chalked up 20+ hours since early January, and that’s just from his deathbed. Imagine if he wasn’t dying, the cadenómetro would…

As if on cue

Chavismo: 13 years without missing an opportunity to make fools of themselves. Case in point: the celebration of the second anniversary … of the opening of a Twitter account. A perfect bookend to my article on FP.

Adventures in Petrocaudillism

First, you need a tiny bit of background to understand what petrocaudillism is. As far back as I can remember, there have been three ways the oil industry can transfer money to the Venezuelan state: It pays a percentage of its profits in income tax, just like everyone else -this happened even before nationalization in 1975.…

2.08

It’s a good thing we have Setty to remind us. Otherwise, some of us might forget to flip through PDVSA’s always revealing yet seldom well pondered Annual Report. This year, I want to pull just one number out of the smouldering wreckage of PDVSA’s financials. According to the report, PDVSA’s Hanky Panky Spending ( a.k.a. its…

Chavismo Ruins Paradise

All through the last 13 years, I’d had this – in retrospect, rather complacent – feeling that, try as they might, chavismo would never be able to ruin the very best part of Venezuela: the knee-weakeningly beautiful Canaima National Park. Turns out I was wrong. Fuel shortages have brought tourism operators to a grinding halt…

Gato viejo no caza ratón

Just this once, we’re posting in Spanish here, in response to Ricardo Villasmil’s recent column in El Universal. Estimado Ricardo, Te escribo para darte las gracias por tu artículo en El Universal y para aceptar la invitación a debatir la posición de Henrique con respecto a la idea de mantener ciertos sectores bajo el control…

NYT’s still got it…

The New York Times’ sprawling investigation into corruption at Wal-Mart de México (and the subsequent Bentonville cover-up) is worth reading for the intrinsic pleasure of seeing a ghastly corporate fuck-up dissected in minute, forensic detail. It’s also worth reading to remind ourselves of what Investigative Journalism – properly resourced, and taken seriously – can do.…