Bachaco

The Political Economy of Gas Smuggling

Caracas-based economist Asdrubal Oliveros recently estimated 130,000 barrels of gasoline are now smuggled across the border to Colombia each and every day. That’s a big number. How big? Well, assuming our men in uniform are bad at business and only make $65 per barrel sold (they’re wholesalers, after all), that would work out $8.5 million dollars every…

Anza Dudamel

Another scandalous non-scandal

The ongoing scandal involving Elías Jaua’s nanny poses a challenge to us bloggers. After so many scandalous non-scandals, is there anything left to say? It turns out there is plenty. For those of you not up to speed on the developments: Elías Jaua (former VP, Foreign Minister, former candidate for Governor of Miranda, current Minister for…

fuerte-tiuna-vivendas

Everyone’s a general

I´m under the weather this week, so I’ll stick to re-posting interesting things that reach my Inbox. Today, Bloomberg has a story on how the military find all sorts of goodies, from cars to apartments, while regular Venezuelans face shortages. One thing that has always baffled me about my country is how the military remains one of…

lazard_logo_2072

Les fraudeurs

Yesterday we learned – via the increasingly indispensable Marianna Párraga – that PDVSA is selling the refinery it owns in the US Virgin Islands. This comes on the heels of the almost certain sale of Citgo, as well as other assets overseas. Whether the reason for these privatizations is a lack of cash, a way of escaping from the claws…

Maleta-con-Dolares1-640x360

Out of the closet

It must be frustrating to cover Venezuela for international news organizations. The country is crappy enough to make it burdensome to live there, but not nearly crappy enough for you to earn journalistic prestige points for covering it as opposed to, say, Iraq. Add to that the notorious lack of transparency of the “no comment revolution,” and…

The plane! The plane!

The Carvajal plot thickens

The international press is going to town with this story. Three pieces stand out … ABC’s Emili J. Blasco (the well-sourced Washington correspondent with the juicy details on Hugo Chávez’s illness) says sources in Washington confirm Carvajal was the “main figure” in the drug-running operation set up between the FARC, the Venezuelan military, and Hugo Chávez…