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Anzoátegui’s Black Dunes

I once called it “Anzoátegui’s unnatural wonder”: A large accumulation of petroleum coke, which is located outside PDVSA’s José Antonio Anzoátegui Petrochemical Complex (better known to the locals as Jose Refinery). The coke mountain started way back in 2009 after a fire caused heavy damage to the docks used to transport the materials to export ships.…

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Stay In The Closet

The statements by Freddy Bernal, saying that gay people can be cops as long as they don’t say so, are apalling, infuriating and shameful. Furthermore, to see a news anchor sit quitely while such bigotry is being spewed out in his studio is even worse. In his little speech, Bernal tries (and fails) to explain why the Police Force cannot…

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Our Health Ministry is a revolving door

Lost in the news whirlpool of open letters, diplomatic summits and military exercises, there’s the news that Nicolas Maduro has named a brand new Health Minister: PSUV Falcón State MP Henry Ventura. Until a few days ago, Ventura was the chairman of the National Assembly’s Health Committee. He admitted in a recent interview with State TV that at…

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Oil and bullets

Two interesting stories, from the indispensable foreign press. First, Bloomberg’s Anatoly Kurmanaev explores the lack of progress in reining in guns and munition, and how it shows the powerful sway of the military. He reminds us that, in theory, the military should have begun coding individual bullets as a way of tightening control over munition.…

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A political prisoner dies

(I met Lissette González back in college, when we were both interns at the UCAB’s Institute for Social and Economic Research. We were never close – she, the hipster Sociologist; me, the neoliberal economist – but I liked her. I had not seen nor heard from her in many years, but I got hold of…

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What’s in Roy’s head? (Updated: Chaderton sort of apologizes)

Roy Chaderton, Venezuela’s Ambassador to the OAS, has always been a curious little beast. A product of Venezuela’s ancien regime, he is one of the few highly-educated diplomats that remained in good standing with Chávez after the Revolution came to power. After the tides turned, many people in top positions turned in their resignations in disgust – Ambassador…