Charming fellow

When in Doubt… Shoot to Kill

Making decisions can be tough, especially if you’re expected to solve the worst economic crisis in our petrostate’s memory on a 22% approval rating, and don’t have the first clue what you’re doing. Leave it to a psychopath like the Defense Minister to show you how it’s done. While Maduro dithers like a paralyzed hamster at the…

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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…

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Thug-ocracy

Good news, everyone! There’s a new military force in town! Meet the Clash Force (Fuerza de Choque)! (It sounds like a Chuck Norris movie). This week’s Official Gazette mentions the creation of this brand new force, which is put under the supervision of the Organizational Strategic Command of the Armed Forces (CEOFANB). Its mission? Fight…

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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…

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Does a caged chavista sing the blues?

A few months ago, Nicolás Maduro appointed former general Hugo Carvajal to be Consul General of Venezuela to the Dutch island of Aruba. Yesterday, as Carvajal laid low in the island waiting for the Dutch government to approve his position, he was detained. The US had asked the Netherlands to incarcerate and extradite him. Carvajal was head of…

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Enchufado chronicles

I just got back from a short trip to Maracaibo. One of the many things that struck me (more on that in future posts) is the extent to which the enchufados hold the key to Venezuela’s future. I don’t know if it was the fact that I was in a border town overrun by pimpineros,…