Is Maduro really that desperate?

  Sure sounds like it. He has designated December 8th, the day of the upcoming local election in Venezuela, as a “Day of Loyalty and Love for Chávez and the Fatherland.” I kid you not. The stated rationale behind this bizarre move is that December 8th, 2012, was the day of Hugo Chávez’s last speech,…

Star power

I had never seen this 1998 conversation between then-candidate Hugo Chávez and the formidable, recently deceased Oscar Yanes. I picked it up through my Facebook feed, from the page of one of my come-candela friends. Instead of being horrified, I watched in fascination as Chávez navigated the interview without a hitch. We all hated him,…

Missing him

After a long day full of meetings, errands, and other such trivialities, I sit down to write a post and, lo and behold, I can’t find a worthwhile topic. I scan the news, and what I find is not worth a tweet, much less a post: Information Minister Ernesto Villegas calling us all coup-mongers, Prisons…

Vote for me. The other guys are crazy.

I have to admit, I’m more than a little turned off by the current Presidential campaign. Part of my frustrechera lies with the fact that, while Henrique Capriles is engaging in the kind of negative campaign the doctor ordered, he hasn’t really come out and given us the main reason why people should not vote…

Plunging to new lows

In a sign that Hugo Chávez has indeed made headlines in corners of the world we never thought we’d be in, get this: there is a growing controversy in Iran over Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s embrace of doña Elena Frías de Chávez at Chávez’s funeral. The BBC reports on this bizarre story. Apparently, Ahmadinejad consoling Mrs. Chávez…

ABC: the coffin on parade was empty

Spanish newspaper ABC has been relentless in its reporting on Hugo Chávez’s health. Now, on the heels of Chávez’s funeral, journalist Emili Blasco launches an explosive allegation: the coffin they paraded through Caracas was empty, Chávez died in Havana, and while the coffin was being paraded, they were preparing the real body in the basement…

#EpicFail in Los Próceres

Emiliana Duarte gives us this brilliant first-hand account: I just came back from la Academia Militar, after 8 hours of lines and shoving and a metallic sun and a magenta sunburn. I did not get to see Chavez, and neither will at least 3/4ths of the people who are there patiently waiting, yes, crying and…

Oh, by the way …

I know Quico hates it when I post random bullet points of stuff, but there are several things I need to say, and I don’t have time today for an ellaborate post on each one: Don’t dwell too much on the mass hysteria and the adoring throngs of people. First off, they are not one…

Hugo Chávez is dead

Hugo Chávez, who transformed Venezuela from a deeply flawed democracy into a nearly flawless autocracy, is dead at 58. My thoughts on the way Fidel Castro shaped his political imagination are in The New Republic. My review of the way the chavista cult of personality warped Venezuela’s public sphere is in The Atlantic. 

The Possibility of an Island

So now it turns out President Chávez is (or is not – you know how these things are) spending his last days receiving hospice care on the tiny naval-base/island of La Orchila, about 160 km. north of Caracas. The government pours scorn on the rumours, but offers only bluster in their place. So…is it true?…

Adrift in Caracas

I’m in Venezuela this week visiting friends and family, so I’m not going to be posting much. However, I did want to convey the very strong sense that the nation is rudderless. Everything is as expected. The economy is dysfunctional, there is chaos everywhere, and politics is eaten for breakfast, lunch, merienda, and dinner. But…