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How the Revolution Ate the Joropo-Playing Japanese Students

A special investigation by Kanako Noda. This post is available in Japanese here. 日本語でも読めます。 The four Japanese students look hot and excited as they clutch their instruments and break into a rendition of “Fiesta en Elorza.” Their performance is accompanied by children dancing in colorful costumes. They’re in Elorza, playing at the “Fiestas Turísticas Elorza 2014…

firma_chavez_tatuaje

Chávez eres (ta)tú

Anabella and Barbara tackled the wackiness of Chavez’s fandom a few weeks ago with a brief post on the man’s signature and all new typeface. Early this morning the good people of Aporrea announced there will be a cultural event held on the premises of OPSU (Oficina de Planificación del Sector Universitario) in downtown Caracas. This,…

CNE-rectores-980

Playing Hardball on the CNE appointments

The MUD has been getting a lot of flack lately for not getting things done. But the opposition alliance continues to use what little institutional maneuvering room it has to fight the good fight. Much of this flies under the radar, and it’ll never filter out into broader public attention, but at least the political…

aruba

Was immunity alone enough to free Carvajal?

There has been a lot of speculation on why the Kingdom of the Netherlands (sort-of) granted immunity to Carvajal and then let him go. We’ve said that immunity alone should not have been sufficient to protect Hugo Carvajal and have him delivered back home. Jose Ignacio Hernandez (@ignandez) has made some interesting points on what Holland…

royal_dutch_shell

Breaking: Chicken Run [Updated]

[Update: The Dutch confirm Carvajal will be freed and reports say he will board a Caracas-bound flight shortly. Teach your children to traffic coke, folks, it's the only thing that pays.] Our favorite story of the week —that which took our attention from the really important stuff— has come to an abrupt end. According to Elías…

The week that was

Weekend Recap

T’was a busy week for the press Venezuelan online media and tweet-pushers. Let’s take it from the top: Noodle Western: A new sheriff Venezuela was recently visited by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who arrived with a very tight agenda for the —now traditional— bestowing of the faux(?) Presidential sash ceremony in his honor, and to sign a few more cooperation agreements.…

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,…

I have no idea

The arbitrarily poor

Quico and I had a non-quibble a few days ago about poverty. I criticized poverty measures, and he beat me up about it. Truth is that I agree with him. Poverty is a very complex thing with many definitions: income, savings, choices, and even expenditure. People have tried to package it in a single indicator, but numbers end…

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…