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No country for French fries

“Mommy, can we get some French fries?” asked my daughter as we drove past the massive granite monolith that is the McDonald’s store of La Castellana in Caracas. “There are no French fries in Venezuela, baby” sentenced my wife. My daughter’s eyes dampened like that was the saddest thing she ever heard. And perhaps it was.…

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Everyone and their mothers is implicated in the Hergueta murder

In a move that has surpassed even the most permissive standards of batshit lunacy, the Venezuelan government has published its definitive list of suspects linked to Patriota Cooperante José Pérez Venta’s murder and hacking-up of Liana Hergueta. Along with your everyday presidential assassins (María Corina Machado), arsonist coup mongers (Leopoldo López) and paramilitary fascists (Álvaro Uribe), newcomer…

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Sobremesa Chronicles

“Who comes from Colombia to Venezuela? These are people who come with no education, without a penny in their pocket, it’s the poor who come fleeing … Venezuela has become a magnet, a guarantee for social rights for the Colombian people. I have to say it, and I ask for your understanding … I don’t offend Colombia…

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Let’s throw the BCV a bone

Less than a week after announcing an open tender for bids on security paper meant for printing Bs.50 and Bs.100 bills, the Venezuelan Central Bank (BCV), revealed that they are conducting a study on the merits of issuing a BsF. 500 banknote. That this realization is past-due would be an understatement: the graphic designs and printing sheet for…

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Another Dakazo?

The episode is seared into the opposition’s collective psyche: with his approval ratings already in freefall, Nicolas Maduro headed into state and local elections in late 2013 facing a certain drubbing. Then, at the last minute, he had a great idea. Inviting people to quasi-legally loot a popular electronics-and-appliances chain of shops would be sure…

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“I am filled with my country”

Before Julio Coco. Before Irene Saez, and El Conde del Guácharo, and Luis Chataing. Before Hugo Chávez himself, there was Renny. Renny Ottolina was the ultimate political outsider. A cross between Ed Sullivan and Jon Stewart, Renny was a fixture in Venezuelan TV for much of the 1960s and 1970s. In the middle of that decade,…