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The Violence Epidemic in Two Charts

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluations has a handy data visualization tool here on worldwide causes of death and disability. The Venezuela pages are somewhat startling. One key measure is Years of Life Lost: a statistical measure of the years of life a person would have been expected to live had they not died prematurely. In…

Lusinchi Square

Jaime Lusinchi, 1924-2014

Jaime Lusinchi, whose 1984 to 1989 presidency is remembered as possibly the least competent of the 1936-1999 period, died last night in Caracas. The last of the old-style Acción Democrática populist apparatchiks to run the country, Lusinchi’s ruinous term in office was marked by rampant corruption, a pig-headed refusal to countenance evidently needed reforms, the accumulation of…

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Adjustment or collapse? The case for collapse

As the debate about whether Venezuela is facing macroeconomic adjustment or macroeconomic collapse rages on, some traders* at giant Japanese investment bank Nomura make the case for collapse about as succinctly as is possible: “Let us start with the one-liner of our trip last week: we came back more concerned about Venezuela. It is becoming clear that Sicad II will…

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De Lima is Out of Cadena Capriles. (Owner Still In Closet)

David de Lima, the cartoon-bad-guy political commissar sent to keep Cadena Capriles’s employees in line, is reportedly out of a job, after having taken a bull’s approach to china shop management in the newsroom over the couple of months he lasted at the helm. No word on who is to replace him. And no word…

Stable, but not resilient

What adjustment is, and what it isn’t

In the wake of the Red Adjustment, Venezuela is on its way to macroeconomic stability. It’s a statement that seems especially prone to misunderstanding, so maybe it’s not surprising we have to keep going back to it again and again to explain. As usual, it’s Francisco Rodríguez of Bank of America who explains all of this most…

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I Visualized May Wrong

Back on February 22nd, I wrote “Visualize May”: an exasperated and – in retrospect – badly misguided post about the uselessness of the nascent protest movement. Well, it’s May now, so accountability demands we go through that post now and have a bit of a reckoning. (Spoiler alert: I Visualized May wrong.) My main contention was simple: a…

guerrilleros_machurucuto

Tal Día Como Hoy en 1967

Originally posted on Caracas Chronicles:
It’s not just a great name for a band: 45 years ago this week, a group of Cuban and Cuban-trained Venezuelan guerrillas actually tried to invade Venezuela by sea through Machurucuto (just east of Higuerote). Machurucuto was a kind of through-the-looking-glass Bay of Pigs that went just as badly as…

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When “Sustainable” is a Four-Letter Word

So Anabella and Barbara, I think you’re right, but you still go to jail. The Planning Ministry powerpoint leaked to ABC.es certainly made for some juicy reading showing how bad things got over the last year and a half. But then, we always knew it wasn’t going to be pretty bringing the economy down from the fevered sugar high…

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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…

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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%)…