That's tiny!

Dude, Your Strategic Fund Has Less than a Week’s Worth of Imports In It

For years – literally years – we’ve been wondering exactly how much money the Venezuelan government had squirrelled away in its “parafiscal funds”: Fonden- and Fondo Chino-style unaudited, unreported, wholly discretionary accounting black boxes. Finally, yesterday, Maduro let the cat out of the bag: announcing he would finally unite all of these different pots into a…

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Sacudón Chronicles: The Big Shakedown

So what do we take away from last night’s Sacudón? First, as Kanako put it to me, that Rafael Ramírez’s power turned out to be the political equivalent of the bolivar’s value: at the same time enormous and basically nil. Oil minister, PDVSA chief, vice-president in charge of the economy: on paper, Rafael Ramírez had all the power he could’ve…

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Frank + Laura + Tamoa’s Special Day (Updated)

Three Caracas-based journalists were honored at the Columbia Journalism School’s Cabot Prizes this year: the AP’s legendary Frank Bajak takes a prize, while one time Ultimas Noticias investigative power duo Laura Weffer and Tamoa Calzadilla get a special citation. Their awards are richly deserved. Three of their highlights: Bayak’s story on the colectivos in Venezuela (co-authored with Fabiola…

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Happy 88th, Fidel!

Actual caption under this photo in the VTV piece celebrating this joyous occasion: “Chávez y Fidel: La amistad de dos pueblos.” Check back in five years from now, when VTV will probably be running things like: Caracas, August 13th, 2019, VTV – Today the nation celebrates the 93rd birthday of Fidel Castro, the Cuban-born doctor and revolutionary…

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Notes on a common misconception about the gasoline subsidy [Updated]

Whoops. The gas subsidy still sucks, but this post was wrong. Explanation below.  Venezuelans have a hard time understanding the crazed extremes of mindless waste generated by our legendary gasoline subsidies. It’s not surprising: the policy is so multidimensionally insane, it’s hard to really take in all the different layers of destructiveness in one go.…