Semana Santa, Politics, and a side of Pescao Frito

Semana Santa, along with Carnavales, Christmas vacation, Indigenous Resistance Day and any other holiday that does not fall on a Wednesday and can therefore become part of a puente, are all venerated occasions for packing your coolers full of rum, calling up your fellows-in-suffering and getting the fuck out of Caracas for much needed respite…

Book of the Week: Comandante

Rory Carroll’s Comandante: Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela is BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week: an abridged version is being read on air in five instalments – 10 minutes each -throughout this week. It’s a great chance to hear Rory’s book read by a professional, but hurry: they don’t leave these online forever. Episode 1 Episode 2…

0% Vickrey

So after much confusion, I finally found a reasonable explanation of the SICAD’s Auction mechanism, courtesy of Bank of America. The long and the short of it is that there’s just nothing Vickrey about this auction – it’s a straight Giordani botch: The auction designed by Venezuelan authorities for the dollar auctions is not a modified Vickrey…

Sistema Complementario de Administración Monetaria – SCAM

Just when you thought the government’s arcane currency control system couldn’t get any weirder, along comes the Complementary System for Currency Administration (officially SICAD, though I still think my acronym is more a propos.) We’ve already described the way SICAD creates red-tape on a scale Kafka might think up if you slipped some burundanga into his…

Jail House Night-Club, cont.

Looks like the El Rodeo I’s month-old nightclub won’t the only one up and running in the Venezuelan prison system. According to El Nacional’s crime reporter Thabata Molina, this Good Thrusday will be the brand new opening of a night-club in San Antonio Prison (Margarita Island). For those looking to party but not cozy with…

Riding coattails onto aircraft carriers…

Aircraft carriers are strategically crucial but massively expensive to build, so it’s not surprising of the ten nations that have real aircraft carriers, eight possess only one. In our metaphorical Venezuelan theatre of electoral war, we’ve long had just the one portaviones worth its salt, and its name rhymes with Cugo Pávez.  A recent article…

Assad and Maduro, still BFFs

In its last meeting, the UN Human Rights Council voted to extend the probe of the ongoing Syrian civil war until next year. The resolution was approved by 41 votes to 1, with five countries abstaining: Ecuador, India, Kazakhstan, Philippines and Uganda. The only vote against continuing the HRC’s investigation (led by Brazilian diplomat Paulo…

Three Weeks Out: The Supposedly-(but-not-really)-Pre-Campaign Round Up

Let’s recap of the first seven days of non-campaign campaigning, or in criollo doublespeak: pre-campaña. Technically, you see, the official campaign only starts on April 1st and lasts a mere 10 days. Obviously neither candidate has taken the CNE campaign schedule particularly seriously. Capriles began a nation-wide stump tour, hitting two states per day, holding mass…

My so-called polity

I guess we can add this to the list of impossible things we’ll have to explain to our grandchildren somehow one day… Faced with the very real possibility of a slide into outright dictatorial oppression, el bravo pueblo…merrily guffawed at Bumblebee Man and said “go on, then.”

Tío Conejo Chronicles: are Venezuelans really hostile to Foreigners?

A guest post from Daniel Lansberg-Rodríguez  Last week, the World Economic Forum released its “Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report” for 2013. The study rated 140 countries on various metrics so as to gauge overall national attractiveness for potential investors as well as for tourists themselves. All the ALBA nations, including Venezuela, had a particularly poor showing in…