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Evil in the Bayou

Over the past week, with the story of El Pollo Carvajal’s Aruba narco-escapade, and reports of an obscene dollars-imports-military scam, we have come to understand what we’re up against in Venezuela: drug-trafficking generals. Leave it to a last minute blocking of a U.S. Senate bill to clear things up a little more: we’re actually facing drug-trafficking…

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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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“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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Postcards from El Rodeo III

  A few days ago 18-year-old Clider Martínez was taken in by the National Guard while protesting in Los Palos Grandes. After being processed he was sent to El Rodeo III, one of Latin America’s most dangerous prisons. Allegedly, Clider got the book thrown at him because he had been caught a few days earlier in one of…

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Power, impunity, and hacks

If there is one arm of the Venezuelan state apparatus that comes out looking like royal crap in the Human RIghts Watch report, it is the public prosecutors. In example after example, they are portrayed as being either complicit, or grossly incompetent. Routinely, charges are pressed on dubious evidence, possible misconduct is ignored, and a…