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Life meets pavement

Tents, bare mats, improvised shelters, tattered refrigerators, and used-up kitchen utensils cover the sidewalk of this stretch of Avenida Lecuna, in downtown Caracas. Several government-subsidized buildings on both sides of the street are adorned with propaganda. Women, men, and kids stand by, looking at each other and at the cars driving on this busy street. They sit on…

but not your voice

The PSUV’s non-election

The PSUV has delayed the election of its leadership now for three years. This has not been easy to swallow for party loyalists, particularly those who adamantly believe in “participatory democracy” but have been deceived by the idea that the national elections took precedence over democracy inside the party. But as the governing party heads toward its first…

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“Media Plot:” The hegemony’s permanent excuse

Last week, the government organized a high-profile conference about what they like to call “the media plot against Venezuela.” This was the usual blame-it-all-on-the-Evil-Empire gig, with a few minor power players and so-called international pundits on hand to bash the usual enemies. It also pointed to a heightened interest in clamping down whatever freedoms are left…

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Tick-tock

In recent weeks, I came across Chavismo’s Watches,(Relojes del Chavismo) a blog that showcases the weakness that high-ranking chavistas have for pretty, fancy, expensive watches. I think the blog, in its mere simplicity, is brilliant. Think about how difficult (let me rephrase that, downright impossible) it would be for an average Venezuelan to purchase one of those. Want…

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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…

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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…