Bachacos

Bachaqueo chronicles

Two items today on the smuggling of gasoline from Venezuela to Colombia – commonly known as bachaqueo. Both are in Spanish. This first-person account by Colombian journalist Sinar Alvarado is a must-read. Alvarado takes us to the back roads on both sides of the border to give us a real sense of the “business” and…

amalia salario

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…

Edgardo Parra’s fall from grace

The incumbent Chavista mayor of Valencia, Edgardo Parra, was arrested last night by SEBIN agents for his possible involvement in a corruption case. Days ago, the office of a company belonging to Parra’s son was also raided. Four people were arrested and several properties seized. Parra has denied any wrongdoing and said that “…he’s open to an…

The phantom bike menace

We’ve been hearing as of late that SICAD dollar auctions were being used as stopgap measures to avoid scarcity for particularly sensitive items. For example, many SICAD dollars are apparently going to people wishing to import school supplies and toys for the upcoming Christmas season. But now, it appears as if something doesn’t fit. The government…

Someone to watch over them

Reading this great post by Setty, it strikes me that there is real ingenuity and entrepreneurship in Venezuela. It’s too bad it’s often used for things such as protecting the online reputation of the boli-bourgoisie.

Socialism vs. workers

More bad news for the government: union bosses are sick of business as usual. This story by Ana Díaz quotes several left-wing union heads dissing the government. The money quote: Most of the (state-owned) companies under worker control have not been able to increase production. (Trotskyite union boss) Chirino said cement companies, which were taken…

The Maduro corruption tax = 60%

An excellent article from El Nacional on the high cost of building power plants in Venezuela. Because the government has basically sworn off procurement auctions, and instead resorts to buying stuff “from the rack,” corruption is rife. The money quote: “The general norm, says [industry expert] Aguilar, is for combined cycle plants to cost somehwere…

Passport gridlock

Looks like what once was a problem solved is coming back with a vengeance: getting or renewing a passport is once more becoming an ordeal for ordinary Venezuelans. Former MP Juan Carlos Dugarte, who has been the head of SAIME (Identification and Migrations Service) since last month, has publicly admitted the recent delays and has pledged…

Wasteful spending chronicles

The government is creating a brand new public transportation company called “Corporation of Socialist Transportation”. Didn’t they know there’s already have a similar kind of company called Sitssa? No wonder they keep asking for borrowed money from overseas. They continue spending it on companies that do the very same job as other companies. Stroke of…

Clean as a whistle

So according to Transparency International, Venezuela is NOT the most corrupt country in Latin America. If I’m understanding this poll correcty, people were asked if they had paid a bribe in the last year. While 27% of Venezuelans answered yes, 33% of Mexicans and 36% of Bolivians answered yes. Wait. A. Minute. Regular Venezuelans would…