On the "margin," we devalued today

What is a dollar worth? Depends on who you know

Venezuela today has four different prices for the dollar – three of them official, one of them not. For basic imports (chavista code for “available only to Godgiven and his cronies”) a dollar costs BsF 6.3. For not-so-basic imports and for traveling (chavista code for “let’s throw a bone to the middle classes so they won’t…

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Basking in a sea of happiness

Inflation is at almost 70% per year. The multiple exchange rate system is wreaking havoc with Venezuelans’ daily lives. The Central Bank is printing money like crazy to finance an out of control budget deficit. But don’t despair. The Central Bank is focusing on solving all of these problems.

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Bombs away

The ink has not dried on the news that Sucre mayor Carlos Ocariz had been declared “the fourth-best mayor in the world” by the City Mayor Foundation, and we are finding out just what we (and Ocariz in particular) are up against. First off, in a clear act of arson, seven garbage collection trucks were set ablaze…

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Managing Impotence

Over at the Transitions blog, I try and sympathize with our opposition. I try to focus on the numerous challenges they face – short on funding, locked out of the media, and with an unmanageable internal structure, it is a small miracle that they still exist and are strong in opinion polls. Just for comparison’s sake,…

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Día Día speaks

(Día Día Practimercados is a small grocery store chain that caters to Venezuelans living in the country’s slums. Last week, they were taken over by the government. The firm put out a communiqué, and they reached out to us to ask if we would publish the English version. Here it is, in its entirety. Note…

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Sobremesa Chronicles

Yesterday, Venezuela lost one of its greatest artists. I dare say Pedro León Zapata was THE greatest artist of the last era of our history. Why is this controversial? Zapata was a cartoonist. Doesn’t sound like high art, right? Large crises are usually fodder for artists. Picasso’s greatest painting was inspired by the carnage of Guernica. Steinbeck would not…

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Hysteresis or survival?

I sometimes wonder why anybody would choose to be an entrepreneur in today’s Venezuela. The risk is enormous, the stress of dealing with the layers upon layers of regulation must take years off your life, and the rates of return … well, they must have been large at some point, but I’m sure by now they don’t…