CaracasChronicles.com (on Twitter @CaracasChron) has been the place for opposition-leaning-but-not-insane analysis of the Venezuelan political scene since 2002. The blog aims to breathe life, insight, and wit into discussions of Venezuelan public life.

Today, Caracas Chronicles is a group blog edited by Juan Cristobal Nagel (@juannagel)- a Venezuelan economist now living in Chile. The blog’s founder Francisco Toro (@BoringDev) stepped aside to pursue a different project in February, 2014 but still contributes occasionally and plays an advisory role as “editor emeritus.”

Since 2012, journalist Gustavo Hernández Acevedo (A.K.A. Geha) has joined the team, reporting from Barquisimeto on Venezuela beyond the capital. In early 2013, opposition activist and political scientist Emiliana Duarte (@emiduarte)also joined the team. In 2014, Caracas Chronicles became a true group blog with the arrival of:

Audrey M. DaCosta (who comments as adrytatoo), a marine biologist and a mother of two. A recent ex-pat, she will bring to the blog her own insight on gender issues. She will also be tackling Venezuela’s numerous environmental challenges. She has recently left the country, so she will be writing about her experiences as she ventures out into the world – something many of you will surely relate to.

Rodrigo Linares (@ralinaresg), a USB engineer with a Master’s from MIT, he is part of the crop of brilliant professionals we are honored to have met through the blog. A Venezuelan with deep roots all over the country, ones that go back centuries, he will be writing mainly about infrastructure, technology, and even things like microbrewing.

Carlos Rangel (@carlosrangel87) is a talented Venezuelan economist. The grandson of a towering Venezuelan intellectual, he is whip smart, and eager to share his thoughts. He will be writing about Venezuela’s municipal policymakers from the inside, with a focus on crime-fighting.

Anabella Abadí (@janabadi) and Bárbara Lira (@bslira), two Venezuelan economists with a sharp eye for data and a cold head for reasoning. They are well on their way to establishing themselves as serious analysts, whether it’s through their writings in Prodavinci, their book “Gestión en Rojo,” or their work as consultants.

Raúl Stolk (@raulstolk) is an accomplished attorney. Having already made his mark writing in Spanish for Prodavinci, we are honored to have him on the CC team, reporting on various aspects of life in Caracas.

80 thoughts on “About

  1. How sovereign a state can it be when we no longer can feed our people and rely on Cuba and other countries for every decision that is made to screw its populace. How sovereign a state is it that is dependent on Cuba to regulate its people’s identity documentation and the registries that are in charge of all our properties.


  2. CC authors,
    Would it be possible to have a topic suggestion box for the readers? or an email addy where we can send topic suggestions for future articles?
    Just an idea,
    -A CC addict :)


    • https://rowman.com/Action/Search/SCP/ari%20chaplin

      Dear Editor:

      I would like you to review my book (or someone else in your department), Chavez’s Legacy: The Transformation from Democracy to a Mafia State (see the link above). It includes the use of narcotic-terrorism by Venezuela and its cooperation with Iran in international terrorism. A comparison between Venezuelan, Israeli and Chilean economies are also given. It also includes a sub-chapter on Venezuelan National Oil Company. The renowned Latin American scholar, Fernando Mires wrote the foreword. Upon request I will mail (or e-mail) you my book. Further information can be obtained by visiting my web site: arichaplin.net

      Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

      Respectfully yours,

      Ari Chaplin
      P. S. The current events in Venezuela confirm my book’s thesis


  3. Hello Francisco Toro,

    Thank you for sharing your perspective on the FDA Venezuela Report.

    The FDA’s mission is to advance the fairness and transparency of democratic processes wherever elections occur. The FDA is a non-partisan organization guided by objectivity, soundness, and transparency.

    The FDA’s Venezuela Report is based on an audit of the constitutional and legislative basis for Venezuelan democracy. We acknowledge that the application of laws and the public’s response to them would impact, either positive or negative, the laws themselves. Also, a country’s constitution and electoral laws are a part of the reality of its democracy.

    We regret that you do not agree with our findings. If we have misinterpreted the Venezuelan constitution or electoral laws, please inform us.

    Sincerely yours,
    Stephen Garvey
    FDA Executive Director


    • Hi Stephen, how are you feeling today?

      My first question is, why did you remove from Youtube that groundbreaking video post of yours about how the elites control elections? For us Venezuelans, ruled by a castroite militaristic elite, your message was soo revealing, we didn’t know any better you see, would you care to post it again, so that we can share around the country?

      Your report was brilliant by the way. We look forward to further assessments of our electoral systems, legislation and democracy by your foundation/


    • Dear FDA Executive Director,

      You wrote “the application of laws and the public’s response to them would impact, either positive or negative”.
      So: if the law says something and the application of said law is equal to zero, will that have an “impact” on the law? You talk about objectivity. What does “impact on the law” mean to you?

      Now: what do you think about the constitution of the German Democratic Republic?
      What do you actually think of the Weimar constitution? Do you think there was an impact on its non-application due to state of exception or any other detail during the 1933-1945 time? Do you think the constitution was then “impacted”? Do you think the Weimarer republic’s law was part of the reality during that time in Germany? In how much was is part of reality then?

      In a very impressive video of yours you talked about what you saw as the only difference between you and Socrates. Which Socrates do you mean? Do you perhaps mean Sócrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira? Because I do see more differences. Or you mean José Sócrates, former Prime Minister of Portugal? Because even if Chávez liked him as well, I do see more differences between you two.

      Then there is also a Socrates of Achaea, but you cannot mean him because he was just a mercenary and you are, I reckon, a very distinguished, well-respected scholar. So: which Socrates do you mean?

      Thanks for your response

      Yours sincerely,

      Kepler, Venezuela-Europa Chief Executive Officer


    • Hi Stephen,

      “Did not agree with” is a funny way to put it:


      That’s not about agreement or disagreement, that’s about you failing to clear even the very lowest bar of competence imaginable!



  4. Hello Stephen Garvey,

    Thank you for sharing your organization’s mission. I have some questions.

    If the FDA acknowledges “that the application of laws and the public’s response to them would impact, either positive or negative, the laws themselves,” then how do you account for this variable when your compute your data?

    What financial sources help to sustain your organization? And who or what would be your biggest benefactor?

    If your organization prides itself on transparency, might you not suppress the music voice-over during your videotaped work sessions and meetings?

    I look forward to hearing from you. Gopala.

    Canadian-Venezuelan citizen


    • So sorry, Stephen, the music voice-over was my fault. Turns out, I had an Indian video queued in my disc drive with a repetitive “Gopala” as musical score, which in turn, was interfering with the audio from YouTube.
      I’m just now listening to your various work sessions, and I must say, it’s a scintillating experience.
      My other questions stand, and I look forward to your response.


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  6. Hello. I was wondering where I could get my hands on a high res copy of the photo of Caracas on the home page?

    By the way, I love reading this blog. The quality of the writing is exceptional. Well done! I am from Sydney, Australia and my partner is a caraquena. I’ve been to Venezuela 3 times and have become fascinated by the country, especially its social and political situation.


  7. When you talk on surveys, you must know exactly what are you talking about. If social research would be so easy as to add up and to subtract, anyone could call himself an expert of it. In order to visualize the en results in PowerPoint, I reduced the data of, such as, Henrique Capriles, to a percentage of which cannot be obtained adding vertically but horizontally:
    Henrique Capriles 36.67 35.11 38.22
    If you add the percentage of men who would vote for Capriles (35,11 %) and of women voting for him, and divides the result by 2, you will obtain 36,665 %, which is equivalent, rounding, of 36,67 %. If yo do the same operation with Chávez, you will obtain 34,00 %, etc. Due of value TV time, and to simplify the information for the target understanding, I used a format which is globally used.


    • “I reduced the data of, such as, Henrique Capriles, to a percentage of which cannot be obtained adding vertically but horizontally: Henrique Capriles 36.67 35.11 38.22″

      No nos queda claro, is that Henrique Capriles Radonzki you’re referring to, or Henrique Capriles Radonski?

      Actually, my head is still turning by just how gloriously mangled your explanation is. So to get the percentage wanting to vote for each candidate, you took the arithmetic mean of the percentage of men and women wanting to vote for him…but but…but…but you did the poll! you had the raw data, right?! I mean wouldn’t it make more sense to compute it from…you know, the whole sample?!!?!

      As for formats that are “globally used”, erm, I’m not sure you quite grasped the concept of pie behind the idea of a pie chart. The following exercise might help:

      Next time you have a family gathering, I suggest you buy a pie. (Personally I like Lemon pie, but let me stress, the kind of pie you buy isn’t important here). When the time for dessert comes, your job is to cut a slice accounting for 36.67% of the pie and give it to your wife. Then cut slices that account for 34%, 25.56%, 21.00%, and 2.2% (this one you can shove off onto that one cousin who always says “dame uno chiquitico que estoy a dieta”) of the pie.

      Hand those around the table.

      Then come back here and tell us how you got on!


      • Hola Francisco!! Necesito enviarte un correo,quisiera proponerte que leyeras un par de blogs que pueden interesarte. May I please have your email ?


      • [sum(x_i, from i=1 to n) / n + sum(y_i, from i=1 to m) / m]/2
        = sum(x_i, from i=1 to n) / (2n) + sum(y_i, from i=1 to m) / (2m)]
        which is *not* equal to
        [sum(x_i, from i=1 to n) + sum(y_i, from y=1 to m)]/(n+m)


    • Luis Garcia Planchart,

      You said “When you talk on surveys, you must know exactly what are you talking about.”

      Well, when you DO surveys, you must know exactly what you are DOING.

      Not only that, but you should also be HONEST. And if your are not going to be honest, at least you should not be stupid, or assume that people are stupid, because in order to present those percentages, and then give the explanation you gave above, you must have assumed that the people who write here are retards.

      And why didn’t you post this in the main thread? (can the moderators move these replies to the right place?)


    • luis garcía planchart,

      The average of the percentage of men and the percentage and women does not equal the direct percentage of both unless there’s an equal number of men and women. What you describe is simply wrong, let alone a global standard, let alone from “experts”.

      Also, regarding rounding, strictly speaking, 36,665 rounds down to 36,66, not up to 36,67 because it ends with a 5 and nothing past the 5.

      Adding to the above, I suggest you look up significant figures and/or pie charts and consider why nothing past a single decimal makes sense here.


  8. Good Morning Francisco,

    Be sure I feel GOOD reading Your article How Hugo Became IRRELEVANT in todays NY – times.

    Rodger in finland


  9. I read your article “How Hugo Chávez Became Irrelevant” congratulations for such fine piece. Nevertheless i have an observation; how come you include Guatemala in the list of countries that have reduced poverty through major social reforms without turning their backs on democratic institutions or private property rights along with Uruguay and Brazil? Problably you made a mistake. The times correct those kinds of errors upon the authors request. To appear in the Op Ed pages of the NY Times is an accomplishment for every writer.

    Greetings from the Dominican Republic


  10. Read your N.Y. Times piece today. Capriles is a shifting snake and you portrayed him in the light of the Brazilian left? You make it to the N.Y. Times and then write this deceptive nonsense??? What a disgrace.


  11. Thank you for this article. To me, this distinction is so important. When the right in America speaks of socialism, what they usually mean is the authoritarianism of Chavez, etc. It is possible to have a more free system rooted in democracy that I believe America needs.


  12. As Jimmy Carter has explained, Venezuela has the cleanest and fairest elections in the Hemisphere. Hugo Chavez is also the best thing that has happened in the Hemisphere since 1959.


    • Yeah, well … as Moises Naim has explained, in the 21st century you don’t rig an election on voting day, you rig it in the year leading up to it. And by the way, Hugo Comandante Chavez is no Jimmy Carter.


  13. Pingback: As Fidel Castro’s favorite son, Mr. Chávez has always been the leader of the radical wing. And Brazil’s size and economic power made it the natural leader of the reformist wing. « jmhamiltonpublishing

  14. Crapriles wants to rescind all oil deals made with Russian and Chinese companies and he loves Israel. Which of these positions are followed by the centre-left in Brazil?


  15. Pingback: Michael.H.Prosser » Blog Archive How Hugo Chavez Became Irrelevent

  16. Pingback: Slinking Toward Retirement | How Hugo Chávez Became Irrelevant – NYTimes.com | News, Travel, Opinion and Just Odd and Funny Things...

  17. Your comparison of the two lefts in Latin America is fundamentally flawed. There would be no space for the reformist left except for the greater threat to imperialism that the radical left represents. Reformist experiments in Brazil, Guatemala and elsewhere, and somewhat more radical electoral socialism in Chile, were crushed by CIA interventions and military coups in favor of radical capitalist privatization and death squad governments (as was attempted unsuccessfully against Chavez himself). The coups in Honduras and Paraguay represent the fact that such anti-democratic manifestations are still available in the imperialist quiver whenever the opportunity presents itself. The prospect of right-wing secessionism is another newer response to left electoral success in Latin America. Imperialist economic and financial pressure is once again being exerted against Argentina. I often find Noam Chomsky irritating, but his analysis that cold-war anti-communism and its subsequent variants provided only a convenient ideological cover or pretext for the same US imperial interventionism that preceded the Russian Revolution, and that survived the collapse of the Soviet Union, is persuasive in this regard.


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  19. Hy fellows. My name is Rosana, i’m a brazilian journalist and i’m trying to get in contact to you. Can someone of the blog write to me? I think you could realy help me in a journalism emergency situation. Thanks, waiting. (rosanassauro@yahoo.com.br)


  20. Hi Francisco Toro, my name is Andrea Piontkovski, I am working with to the former U.S. ambassador to Venezuela Charles Shapiro who is the President of the Institute of the Americas in San Diego, CA. He is very interested in your blog and asked me to figure out your email. Could you please send me a email as soon as you can? My email is andreapiontkovski@gmail.com By the way, excellent blog! ;)


  21. Hi! I have followed your Blog for some time. We are starting to create our own one in the Uk, with a group of panas.. more than a blog it is a FB page. It is a big learning curve. But we think it is important to inform people of what is happening in venezuela and stop el mito de que la oposcion es una minoria burguesa mal criada. This is our page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Venezuelans-speaking-up-in-the-UK/483766375011212?fref=ts
    If you like it let us know, if you don’t as well.. feed back is important. If you think it is worth promoting on your blog (in the links you have), please go ahead. That would be great. We will do the same, as soon as we find out how to set it up. Great jog and keep it up. You will see we took some ideas from here… I think making a global front is important.


  22. Hola Francisco,

    My name is Elan Bogarín and I am directing, along with my brother Jonathan, a feature documentary film called Invisible Murals for PBS (invisiblemurals.com). Invisible Murals reimagines the history of oil through the myths, murals, and oral histories of El Tigre, the Venezuelan oil boom-town.

    We love your blog and are especially interested in the ideas you wrote about in your post “The petrostate that was and the petrostate that is.” The theme of the petrostate runs through our film and we have interviewed Fernando Coronil, Victor Poleo, Elie Habalian, and a range of other PDVSA engineers, Venezuelan congressmen, and over 60 various Venezuelans on the subject and other issues connected to Venezuelan oil and culture.

    After reading quite a bit of your blog and your articles online we feel that you could really draw together a large part of our film and help flesh out the issues.

    We are Venezuelans raised and educated in the US and want to bring more of the history/culture/stories of Venezuela to a broader audience through a PBS broadcast.

    We would love the chance to interview you for the project. We are based in New York and would be happy discuss how to make this work out to your convenience.

    Please email me at elanbogarin@gmail.com.

    We look forward to hearing from you.
    All the best,


  23. If you aren’t already in contact with Gustavo Coronel, he has a wealth of knowledge on the subject that interests you and am sure he’d be interested in your project.


  24. Congratulations on your informative and extremely well written blog.
    Most of the articles i have read have been of outstanding quality, clear and concise.
    I’m a relative new comer to the recent political history of Venezeula, and like most Australians had thought that Chavez a rather misguided but benign short term political distraction….good luck with that idiot Maduro, he doesn’t seem to have much between his ears.


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  27. Hello Juan, my name is Khanh and I’m a photographer. I saw your blogpost through Facebook, and my prayers goes to the venezuelean people. I’m traveling in South America at the moment, but since I’ve read about the situation in Venezuela I wanted to go there, and document the situation in your country. AND then hopefully send the photos to all the big newspapers in the world. Do you think it will be safe to go to Venezuela, and do you have some friends/family that I could stay with while I’m there? Please let me know. My email is hello@khanhgia.dk


  28. Thanks for your marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed
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  29. When the sap is boiled down, the Mendoza family is sure to be found behind the cooked-up food shortages. And crime? Corruption? Always been rife in Venezuela. Many a tales from my pre-Chavez days of traveling and doing business in Venezuela. The whole saga revolves around class warfare. Being born in one of those cardboard shanties in the hillsides or in the barrios like Manicomio is a hard haul, a consignment to a lifetime environment of poverty, hunger, ignorance and crime. At least this government has provided a little hope for these people, something the Mendozas (i.e. the elites) had not interest in doing. They have had centuries of creating this monster; one can’t expect this government, as dysfunctional as it may be, to eradicate the problems in just a dozen or so years.


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  31. I don’t know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everyone else experiencing issues with your blog.
    It seems like some of the text on your posts are running off the screen.

    Can someone else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them too?
    This may be a issue with my internet browser because I’ve had this happen previously.


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  38. Need help! I have contacted the Venezuelan embassy without avail. I have also researched online, but there is nothing that can remedy the issue that my client’s daughter has in Venezuela. I am an immigration attorney in Nashville, TN (USA). I have a client who is a naturalized U.S. citizen. She has petitioned her 20 year-old disabled daughter. Her passport is expired, and she is ready to obtain her U.S. lawful permanent residence. The disabled daughter is unable to obtain her passport in Venezuela. Therefore, her aunt assisted her in filing for passport on December 2014. It is May 2015 right now and the daughter has yet to receive her passport. Is there anything that can be done to assist in the issuance of the disabled daughter’s Venezuelan passport? Your help is much appreciated.


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