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Dialogue, actually.

Happy Dialogue Day, everyone! Time to put aside all your petty personal opinions and curb your oft-misguided emotions - today is a day for serious, rational discussion on the objective topic of the greater good. After two months of protests, dozens dead, hundreds wounded, three imprisoned opposition leaders (two of them acting mayors), one congress-woman stripped of…

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Painting the Grey Lady Rojo Rojito

So did you hear the one about the tinpot dictator who wrote an OpEd in the New York Times? Maduro’s inaugural romp in what is arguably the world’s newspaper is filled with the usual half-baked, SIBCI-tested propaganda that’s been shoved down our throats in hundreds of cadenas over recent months: the protests are violent, they are tiny, and…

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Cuartel de la Montaña: A Monument to an Unknown Legacy

The first question the tour guide asked was easy. “To pay homage to Chávez’s legacy,” was the resounding answer he got from the 50 or so visitors when he asked why we were all there that day. The next question he asked was met with complete silence. This was a Saturday afternoon, and I was…

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San Cristóbal Falls Apart [UPDATED]

This morning, around the same time Táchira State Governor enjoyed an easygoing chat from an air-conditioned Caracas radio booth about how not a single gocho has died during protests on his watch, Jimmy Vargas, 34, was on his way to his charcutería job, as usual. Finding the mall where he worked besieged by the National…

Tachira Today

Dark Days in San Cristóbal, Where It All Started

No place in Venezuela has been hit harder by the recent violence than San Cristóbal, the city of 650,000 up in the Andes where the current bout of protests started 18 days ago. Last night, the authorities shut down internet service to the whole city, which explains why so few YouTube videos have emerged from  San Cristóbal.…

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Day of protest #15

From the wee hours, the National Guard blocked all access to Municipio Libertador, barring any chance that the march could reach the Ministry of Justice. Heavy riot police and military contained the rally to Francisco de Miranda Avenue at El Rosal. Under the metallic noon-day sun of Caracas, blocks filled up with thousands of expectant…

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Hey Quico: here’s a steaming pile of words for you to eat.

Check out this protest in non-middle-class-sifrino-stronghold-Altamira, but very-much-western-Caracas-working class Caricuao. That’s a grand total of three subway stops from Antimano, the neighbourhood where Quico was telling us just this morning we’d never see  protests.* El oeste del oeste, pues. Pics were taken around 5:00 p.m. today. *(see subway map for reference: Zoológico Station)

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Collective violence

As I left yesterday’s march, having reached our announced endpoint in front of the Fiscalía (the Prosecutor General’s headquarters), I made a point to note the total absence of law enforcement personnel in the area. There had not been a single policeman in sight for the entire route of the protest. I started my subway ride back home…

Tupamaros in Caracas

Hey, violent opposition: Check out your victims

Diosdado Cabello just confirmed the death of a member of the 23 de Enero colectivo (armed paramilitary groups), allegedly shot in the head in the vicinity of the student protests in Caracas. “Unfortunately, a soldier of the bolivarian revolution has been murdered in Plaza Candelaria,” said Diosado minutes ago. “Facism was there, there in front of the…

Being informative is soooo 1998

Con el MaZzzzzo Dando

Lest you think that any notion of feigning “institutional restraint” through State media outlets was officially dead, in swoops Captain Diosdado Cabello to hammer that last nail firmly in the coffin. Last night, the stellar debut of  Cabello’s weekly Monday-night talk show  was simulcast over VTV and several other official broadcast channels. In an unequivocal echo of…

I got 99 Problems, but an Habilitante ain’t one [UPDATED]

On tuesday’s  National Assembly plenary sesión, opposition legislator Maria Mercedes Aranguren’s parliamentary immunity was eliminated. This basically means she was expelled from the National Assembly and her “substitute”, a certain Carlos Flores, took her place, giving way to the majority vote the PSUV needed to push through Maduro’s Enabling Law. [UPDATE: It was approved today…

Election? What election?

It’s now less than two months out from a Venezuelan election, even if it’s just a local one (for mayors and city councillors). Normally, at this point in the cycle, the air we collectively inhale is inescapably electoral. Even if the “official campaign period” (and who has ever really cared about that formality) starts November…