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The “pet cock” gave them away

Five weeks ago, our pal Setty published a terrific article for the Columbia Journalism Review on scams and the media. Using Arevenca, the scam Venezuelan company whose president, Francisco Javier González, has allegedly been involved in several shady deals, Setty goes on to explore the role of the media in (sometimes) publicizing scams. The money quote: “The website looked fine—dozens…

Trojan-Horse

The Castillian horse

This article by Spain’s El País is a bombshell. In a secret report, Venezuelan ambassador to Spain Mario Isea talks about the opportunity chavismo has in Podemos, the upstart party that is leading in the polls in Spain. That Podemos is Spain’s version of chavismo is no news. That the memo, part of a presentation…

cumbre-petrocaribe

Latin American integration for sale (with a WSJ update)

Hugo Chávez was a man whose rhetoric could only be matched by his wallet. For example, he used to boast about how Petrocaribe, the financing scheme whereby Venezuela sold oil under favorable conditions to several Caribbean nations, was a tool of integration and “transforming union.” “Petrocaribe,” he would say, “is an instrument of liberation.” I wonder how…

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Searching for a narrative

(A guest post by Venezuelan economist and Harvard Research Fellow José Ramón Morales, despairing at the pervasiveness of populist discourse, even in the face of a bankrupt economy) Searching for a Reasonable Economic Narrative for the Opposition: A Provocation and an Invitation José Ramón Morales Arilla After years of attacks that reached the point of…

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Looking for Brutus

George Packer has written a brilliant piece on the rise of Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel in the New Yorker. The article has many anecdotes and thought-provoking ideas, but one stuck with me. When talking about how Merkel decided to cut ties with the legendary Helmut Kohl, her mentor, Packer says: In November, 1999, the C.D.U. (Merkel’s and Kohl’s party) was engulfed…