dialogo21_vidas

A Night of Epistemic Closure

First, a confession: I did not watch last night’s misnamed “dialogue”. I didn’t need to. Nor did anyone else. There was no point. We all knew exactly how it would go. Reading the accounts this morning, that’s exactly how it went. Last night’s parallel-monologue (which is way different than a dialogue) exercise was useless for reasons…

lost_in_translation-2

SICAD II: Lost in Translation

Confused about SICAD II? Wondering whether the new currency exchange system really is a legal, market-based alternative to the black-market, or whether it just plays one on TV? Don’t worry, you’re not the alone: Nicolás Maduro himself seems to conflicted on the question to the point of schizophrenia. In his New York Times OpEd, he describes SICAD II as…

The bit they don't show the tourists

The Petrocaribe Trap

A guest post by Alexis Caraballo, who makes her living as a Caribbean regional analyst. A failing economy, where everything for sale in the shops is imported, with dwindling foreign reserves and on the brink devaluation. Sound familiar? It does to folks in Jamaica, a country that breaks records not just in the 100-meter dash (9.58 seconds) but also in debt-to-GDP ratio (139%)…

A8Cicpc2

1,600 Soldiers vs. One Guarimba in Puerto Ordaz

The month-long shut-down of the La Churuata neighborhood in Puerto Ordaz seems to be over, after a simply huge military action to lift it. Correo del Caroni’s Maisdulin Younis has an eye-opening write-up:  Ayer, mientras las cooperativas de limpieza de la Alcaldía de Caroní y de Gobernación del estado Bolívar, recogían las ramas y escombros que…

"No, no, the other guy..."

F-Rod Pitches a Rabo’e’Cochino

Every few months, Francisco Rodríguez lobs a conceptual hand-grenade at the center of the opposition Conventional Wisdom about the Venezuelan economy. The series of papers he’s written for Bank of America are growing into a corpus of contrarian analysis of the Venezuelan economy that’s not quite like anything else out there. His writing is not…

por Población

We’re not THAT isolated

It was galling to see Venezuelan dissident voices effectively muzzled at OAS today, as the organization voted by 22 countries to 11 to hold a closed-doors session, far reducing the impact of the speech María Corina Machado had planned to give. But it’s easy to overstate the extent of the Venezuelan opposition’s isolation, too. Nearly…

fig4_lacwindfall_1t_march12

The Chávez Legacy, Pulverized in 13 Simple Charts

On the brand new FiveThirtyEight.com, Friend of the Blog Dorothy Kronick does the kind of demolition job on Bolivarian Socialism’s record usually associated with a wrecking crew. Eye-opening stuff, even for those of us who know this material well. I enjoyed, in particular, the way she developed Omar Z’s Bolivia parallel. It’s just brutal. If it…

Capuskishield

One Bottle, Then This: My Afternoon at UCV

A reader who prefers not to be named sends in this first-hand account of yesterday’s march-and-melée at the UCV Campus. It began with the usual confusion about the starting point and route; uncertainty has become a mainstay in recent weeks of street mobilizations. Sophisticated production and days-in-advance mass publicity for these events are a thing…

whitemaze

Trapped

It’s now been five weeks since the protest in San Cristóbal that set off Venezuela’s latest revolt. Time to take stock. Outside the Andean states, protests remain largely confined to the better-off areas of the larger cities. Are there exceptions here and there? Certainly. But they’re just that: exceptions. The sites of ongoing unrest remain…

Barricadas 1

Fear and Loathing in Mérida

While attention centers on the protests in San Cristóbal, few have stopped to notice that other Andean cities have seen similar, if perhaps not quite as extensive, protest movements. Here, longtime reader Reinaldo Chacón sends us his first-hand account of the situation in Mérida, Venezuela’s original Andean college town.  Just recently, I decided to go…

El_Nacional_building

A Historic Low for El Nacional

In a press conference today, Venezuela’s Human Rights Ombudswoman, Gabriela Ramírez, made a genuinely shocking statement. Making up legal standards off the cuff, she sought to redefine torture as something that can happen only in the context of questioning, for the purpose of eliciting a confession. In Ramírez’s view, torture-like behaviour inflicted on detainees outside…

United_States_one_dollar_bill,_obverse

The Parable of the $175,000 Greenback

Say you come into Venezuela with just $1 and an eye for business. Just how much money can you turn that bill into using tried-and-true, being-used-right-now scams? With a bit of gumption the answer to that is…$175K or so. Really. Here’s how. First, take your crisp new dollar bill to a black market currency dealer…