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Maduro hearts Kim

The U.N. General Assembly voted in favor of referring North Korea to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity and to impose targeted sanctions on the Asian country. The vote was 111-19, with 55 abstentions. Guess which was one of the nineteen countries supporting Pyongyang? The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. (Bolivia, Cuba and…

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El Picure strikes again

Earlier this week there was a shootout between two rival criminal bands in a farm located near Altagracia de Orituco (in central Guárico State), leaving eleven people dead. The two gangs, named El Picure and El Juvenal, were fighting over territorial control. When I read this news, I got the sense of déjà vu. Surprise,…

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Money for baseball (and trips for free)

Before the baseball season began back in October, the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League (LVBP) publicly thanked government currency distributor CENCOEX for handling their requests right on schedule. But now it looks like the relationship between the state and the LVBP has reached an unprecedented level of intimacy. According to El Universal’s political correspondent Pedro Pablo Peñaloza, the central…

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Cracking down on street vendors

The central government has launched a new front in the economic war: going after street vendors (buhoneros) who sell groceries and other regulated products, as well as those who engage in the practice of smuggling (bachaqueo). The latest Official Gazette has a list of 42 products including food, hygiene products, medicines & medical supplies, school supplies, etc., that can no…