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…

Government applies the “Andrade doctrine”

Remember that Chavista deputy from Merida that was a little too honest while talking about how Asian inmigrants must toe the line and stop speculating? Well… Vice-President (and Chávez’s son-in-law, lest we forget why he got this job) Jorge Arreaza has upped the ante, by calling “Asian business owners to adjust their prices this week,…

The FT rings the alarm bells

The folks at the FT are worried. Very worried. Two money quotes, given their annoying firewalls: “In a report last week which was otherwise bullish on supplies, analysts at Citigroup called Venezuela “probably the biggest bull risk to the oil market in 2014 outside of the MENA [Middle East and north Africa] region.” “The current…

Peking (lame) duck

A few weeks ago I wrote an article for Foreign Policy’s Transitions blog about Nicolás Maduro’s China trip. Given the influence China is playing in how Venezuela shapes its policies, I labeled Maduro the Manchurian President. (If you have trouble accessing the article, here it is in Portuguese) Tom O’Donnell expands on this and provides…

Where are the China bashers?

Nicolás Maduro is wrapping up a trip to the piggy bank visit to China. The deal that he signed means that China gives us money so that we can buy trinkets from them and continue subsidizing the scam that is Cadivi. In exchange, they get our oil. In the end, China keeps their money and…

Boondoggle Chronicles

Interior Minister Miguel Rodríguez Torres has revealed his latest plan to fight crime: Deploying a lot of security cameras. A lot. Thanks to a brand new deal with CEIEC, a company owned by our Chinese overlords, the government will put at least 30,000 security cameras all around Venezuela in order to collect information in real…

Chavistas-in-China syndrome

On this blog, the occasions where we actually congratulate the government for something are extremely rare. Today is one of those occasions. A few days ago, Vice-President Jorge Arreaza went to China. Instead of the usual “pulling-out-your-hat-and-begging-for-money” and leaving it at that, he instead begged for money … but also learned something about the Chinese…

Just another BRICS in the wall

Nicolas Maduro asked the new South African Ambassador to ensure Venezuela “participates somehow in this interesting construction of the BRICS”. Even if some of its members are now making a killing doing business here, it’s unlikely that the BRICS group of nations will give some urgency to this request during its upcoming summit in Durban later…

The China connection

Over at Foreign Policy’s Transitions blog (apologies, but you need to log in to read the piece), I take a break from my vacation to discuss the link between last week’s devaluation and Elías Jaua’s ill-fated trip to China: In the last few weeks, reports have surfaced that the Chinese, the main underwriters of last…