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Crosshairs on Muchacho

A few days ago, El Nacional’s manipulation of a dumb-as-hell-choose-your-words statement by Gabriela del Mar Ramírez created a lot of fuss amongst us morally enlightened “fascists.” Recall that they used an unedited clip to portray our public advocate for human rights justifying torture. Although she spoke the words, it was not quite what she was trying…

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#17M: Altamira in Olive Green

I wake up to the soothing sounds of a chopper; like a giant mosquito that you just can’t swat. Check my phone: Monday, 6:45 am. Insane tweets from people I’ve been meaning to delete from my timeline warn of a looming suspension of constitutional guarantees. Others, more grounded, point towards the military takeover of Plaza…

An opposition demonstrators holds a Venezuelan flag in front of a burning barricade in Caracas

Taming the shadow

These tumultuous days, as I was glued to Twitter, reading Facebook comments, listening to opinions on the street, and watching the students debate on CNNE, I  finally “understood” Venezuela’s deep polarization. After 15 years of war speech, we have become two distinct countries, two societies that haven’t been able to reconcile in more than a…

Hugo Chávez

Ban re-election

As we enter the end of the commodities super-cycle, Latin America seems set to return to its regular trend – low growth mixed in with high social conflict. Venezuela, with its latest mayhem, may be at the spearhead of this. So now is the time to review the traditional views about what makes Latin America…

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Amalia Sáez’s golden parachute

When I did my 8-D post on my hometown of Barquisimeto, I called then Mayor Amalia Sáez “the worst in history”. Now, weeks after she has left office, she has given all barquisimetanos one final slap. According to an internal audit done by the new municipal authorities, Ms. Sáez gave herself a good exit package…

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‘Tis the season to be vindictive…

Looks like the recent case of political payback in Maturin isn’t the only one. Robert Ramos, who was until just days ago the mayor of El Vigía (Merida State’s second largest city) was detained days ago in Merida and will be charged for alleged influence peddling when he worked for the Agriculture Ministry (2001-2005). Months…

Payback time in Maturin

In the local elections held two weeks ago, chavismo lost the race for mayor of Maturin, capital of Monagas state, by 2664 votes. This was mostly the fault of former mayor Numa Rojas, who ran outside of the official PSUV-GPP coalition. Maduro blamed him for the loss because of “…(Numa’s) individualism, lack of discipline and…

8-D Races to Watch: Valencia

Five years ago, a split within the opposition allowed Chavismo to win the mayorship of Valencia, Venezuela’s third largest city. This time, the MUD looks favored to regain it, after the incumbent chavista mayor was pushed aside by his comrades and later arrested for corruption. But recently, the entire leadership of Chavismo launched a series of…

8-D Races to Watch: Maturín

Last year, politics in the Venezuelan State of Monagas were shaken when then Chavista-leaning governor Jose Gregorio Briceño (a.k.a. “El Gato”) defected to the MUD. But that gamble didn’t pay off, as internal division was one of the factors that kept the governorship in Chavismo’s hands. Now, the tables could actually turn in the state…

8-D Races to Watch: El Hatillo (Updated)

El Hatillo is the smallest municipality in Caracas, and one of the bluest in the country. It’s also the most unusual case of the upcoming election: the MUD is running with separate candidates deliberately. After the unexpected passing of the 2012 primary winner, the opposition tried to rally around an alternative candidate. This wasn’t simple,…