Stupid prices

Here you have two items: a chocolate bar, and a box of over-the-counter painkillers. One of these items costs BsF 4.5, about 60 US cents at the official rate, and about 7 cents at the black market rate. The other item costs BsF 50, about 8 dollars at the official rate, and about 83 cents…

Snow in Havanna

As you know, an enormous haul of cocaine made its way into an Air France 777 A340 that flew from Caracas to Paris last week. While a few low-ranking National Guardsmen have supposedly been detained, I await with short breath to hear which Cubans will fall on their sword for this one. It has long…

The non-scandal

Today we “celebrate” the 60th anniversary of the assault on the Cuartel Moncada, which marked the beginning of the Cuban Revolution. Maduro is in Cuba, alongside Evo, Daniel Ortega, and that charming old man, Pepe Mujica. They are all there singing the praises of the Cuban Revolution. And I ask: ¿hasta cuando vale?

Reading the god-given tea leaves

Let’s recap Monday’s events: A conversation is leaked between Mario Silva and a Cuban intelligence operative, in which it is made clear that the Maduro faction in this government is heavily influenced by the Cubans. In it, Silva suggests that the military – at the prodding of Diosdado Cabello – is plotting against Maduro. In…

Who is Maduro?

My take on the big, fat question mark we may be electing tomorrow – over at Transitions, by Foreign Policy. An excerpt: One of the failures in this campaign is that we have yet to learn much about Maduro’s life prior to politics. Earlier this week, a document presuming to be Maduro’s work evaluation from his days…

To recall is to live

On February 5th, 1992, Caldera sided with Chávez and Fidel Castro sided with Carlos Andrés Pérez. I’ve always been struck by what a grubby, squalid little Myth of Origin the putsch of February 4th makes. Next the glories of the Sierra Maestra, next to the romance of Granma, next to the whole majestic sweep of the Bay…