JMBG

José Manuel Briceño Guerrero, 1929-2014

José Manuel Briceño Guerrero, the llanero philosopher and author whose dazzling prose did more to illuminate the Venezuelan condition to me than that of any of his contemporaries, died in his beloved Mérida last Friday. He was 85. Obituary writers have hurried to pronounce his legacy “influential”, but in fact Briceño Guerrero was much more often celebrated than read,…

Bachaco

The Political Economy of Gas Smuggling

Caracas-based economist Asdrubal Oliveros recently estimated 130,000 barrels of gasoline are now smuggled across the border to Colombia each and every day. That’s a big number. How big? Well, assuming our men in uniform are bad at business and only make $65 per barrel sold (they’re wholesalers, after all), that would work out $8.5 million dollars every…

stairs-to-heaven

Vas al Cielo y Vas Llorando Chronicles

Not three weeks ago, Venezuela scored a big win over ExxonMobil, when the long-running saga over International Arbitration following Chávez’s 2006 expropriation of their extra-heavy oil upgrader in the Faja del Orinoco resulted in an award much smaller than expected. Exxon had originally wanted $20 billion out of the deal; arbitrators awarded it just $1.6 billion,…

alberbarre2710

Tyzsgasm

OMG OMG OMG look what’s in Alberto Barrera Tyzska’s column this week.  Yo a veces quisiera ser Anabella Abadí. Esta semana, por ejemplo. Hubiera sido ideal ser como ella. Yo traté de seguir con cuidado la presentación del presupuesto del gobierno para el año 2015, intenté comprender las proyecciones, revisé de cerca algunas declaraciones… y…

Rwanda, marico, RWANDA!

Africa? We wish!

I keep promising Juan I’ll stop boring readers with these bond stories, but then I can’t resist. Check out today’s New York Times story on the superhot market for African sovereign debt: Ghana raised about $1 billion with a coupon, or interest rate, of 8.125 percent on a bond coming due in 2026; it is now…

maduro china kids

Fifty Shades of Default

Until a few weeks ago, I thought default was like pregnancy: you either are or you aren’t. Instead, 2014 is turning into an education on the grey area between default and defaaaaault. Take China. Under previous, hard-haggled-over financing agreements, Venezuela was supposed to send 330,000 b/d per day for the next three years to China as…

Stop_Digging_^_-_geograph.org.uk_-_195319

$12,000,000,000 in the Hole (and Digging)

Bank of America today estimates that, if oil prices stabilize at the level they’ve already fallen to, Venezuela will have to find an extra $12 billion in foreign financing to balance its external accounts in the next year. That’s on top of the already massive import cuts that have already sent the economy into recession this year…