The plane! The plane!

The Carvajal plot thickens

The international press is going to town with this story. Three pieces stand out … ABC’s Emili J. Blasco (the well-sourced Washington correspondent with the juicy details on Hugo Chávez’s illness) says sources in Washington confirm Carvajal was the “main figure” in the drug-running operation set up between the FARC, the Venezuelan military, and Hugo Chávez…

Venezuela's Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez talks to the media in front of a giant picture of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez during a news conference at the headquarters of the state-run oil company PDVSA in Caracas

Questions for Rafa (UPDATED)

Dear Wall Street investment banker, I apologize for interrupting your busy schedule, but in the off chance you are going to listen to Venezuelan economic czar Rafael Ramírez in the coming days, allow us to suggest a few questions for him. As you may know, the Venezuelan government is desperate for cash. To quench that thirst,…

Zapata

Capriles, in depth

An interesting interview with Henrique Capriles, by the team of Juan Carlos Zapata and Elizabeth Fuentes, from the new Internet site konzapata.com. In it, Capriles tones down his criticism of the #LaSalida gang, and offers a more nuanced explanation of his views. Several money quotes: What I proposed was giving the economic and social crisis time to…

Oil Venezuela

The lost money in oil

Ramón Espinasa, former chief economist of PDVSA and currently a professor at Georgetown, published an outline of the oil industry fifteen years after Chávez was elected (here, in Spanish). I thought it contained interesting tidbits. For example: In 1998, each PDVSA employee was responsible for producing 83 barrels of oil per day on average. Today, it…

Sairam-Rivas 2

Visualize July

A few months ago, in the heat of the student protests, Quico wrote a post saying that, come May, the protest movement would have been forgotten. Among other things, by May, he said, “several high profile student movement leaders will be in jail, perhaps alongside some additional, household name politicians.” The student movement proved to…

Cuartel de la montana

The “4” that matters

The official press in Venezuela is full of details on the state visit of Chinese leader Xi Jinping. As part of his Caracas tour, agreements will be signed, swords will be passed around, sashes will be worn, tombs will be visited, oil will be traded, and a full-blown one-directional slobber-fest will take place. But the only thing, the…

MaduroEnElAire

What passes for “pragmatism”

This blog has been trying to follow the ongoing debate about where economic policy is headed under Rafael Ramírez. Today, for example, we eagerly awaited a presidential address where – we hoped – new measures would be announced. We were fools. Nothing of substance was announced. All Maduro said was that every company that had gotten…

gulmarbig

Nothing is free

Our pal Setty has a thoroughly researched, hugely important story on a little footnote in the PDVSA financials. It turns out that, long ago, PDVSA seized some ships from one of its partners, and yadda yadda yadda, Venezuelans lost $644 million. In minute detail, Setty goes through the job of untangling this particular ball of yarn. The…

Leopoldo_Lopez_a_Fernando_mires_1

MUD-slinger

Ramón José Medina, MUD head-honcho and, inexplicably, also Víctor Vargas’ attorney, said in an interview with José Rafael Briceño that Leopoldo López “brought about jail for himself.” See the video above (in Spanish) and judge for yourself. This comes on the heels of Leopoldo writing a strong, heartfelt, handwritten letter to a Chilean academic, in which he…