Ant-colored Polling

The September IVAD poll is on a level of awful that must be making the government think twice now. Consider: 70% of respondents have little or no confidence in Maduro’s ability to solve the nation’s problems. Better than 2-to-1 majorities think Leopoldo López is innocent. The government is losing the National Assembly generic ballot question by…


Las Matemáticas No Fallan

The sad part is that we’ll never really know what happened during the tense, eight-hour stand-off between the Investigative police and downtown “colectivos” today. We know five people, including colectivo leader José Miguel Odreman – were dead by the time it was all said and done, though the police is now claiming, incongruously, no “colectivos” were involved…


Accountability, pero al revés

The Venezuelan government insists on transparency in the use of scarce foreign currency…by private firms. Yesterday, the foreign exchange control administrative agency, Cencoex (which is why they’re calling CADIVI these days), announced draconian measures to “sanction” 17 private companies that have not sufficiently documented what they’re spending their dollars on. By shutting those companies out of preferential foreign…


Venezuelan Culture is Dead

In recognition of his daring, boundary-pushing performance art installation consisting of laying perfectly still inside a rectangular marble box for 19 months, the Venezuelan government has awarded the 2014 National Culture Prize to…Hugo Chávez. If you need a good weep, check out the video of the official announcement. 


Ugandan Slum, Venezuelan Eyes

I’m in Uganda just now, doing some nothing-to-do-with-Venezuela research. I suppose travelogues can be terribly tiresome, but who knows, maybe some of you are interested in reading what staying in a barrio in Kampala feels like to an east-side caraqueño. My little stab at it is here. 


The Routinization of Barbarism

I can’t help but feel we’re missing the point about Convenio Cambiario #30. Forget the monetary dynamics for a moment, forget PDVSA’s cashflows and the October bond payments and all the rest of that. Let’s look at the big picture: in twiddling the nobs on PDVSA’s contribution to FONDEN, what CC30 regulates is the recondite detail of the…


Is Chuo Up to the Job?

Saying “the news here is that the opposition is going to hit the streets,” Jesus (“Chuo”) Torrealba has just accepted Venezuela’s most thankless job: Secretary General of the opposition’s umbrella roundtable, MUD. A journalist, crusading civil society activist, preternaturally gifted communicator, and chief of barrio-to-urbanización cross-cultural diplomacy, Chuo is a curious choice for MUD chief. Far…