Snow in Havanna

As you know, an enormous haul of cocaine made its way into an Air France 777 A340 that flew from Caracas to Paris last week. While a few low-ranking National Guardsmen have supposedly been detained, I await with short breath to hear which Cubans will fall on their sword for this one. It has long…

How do you eat a barrel of oil?

I ask ’cause if the dire predictions come true, that’s what we’re gonna have to do. In the Transitions blog, I wonder if we’re on the road to becoming a failed state. My money quote: Venezuela has so far avoided the fate of its neighbor Colombia, a country still deep in a long civil war…

Got coke?

Guess which country handles in transit 24% of the cocaine that passes through South America? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

We’re Too Rich to be this Violent

Like everything else about Venezuela’s violence epidemic this chart, put together by Amherst Political Scientist Javier Corrales together with one of his research students, is deeply troubling. Plot countries’ murder rates against their per capita income and, not surprisingly, you find richer countries are less violent. Venezuela, though, lies far off the trend line, in…

Once bitten, zero times shy

OK, so I should probably tread carefully here. But the story Diosdado Cabello just told about General Hugo Carvajal’s whereabouts makes absolutely zero sense. It bears noting that last week, after Ismael García tweeted that Carvajal had run off to the U.S. alongside a defecting Supreme Tribunal magistrate, the magistrate turned up in Caracas and proved the story wrong.…

The Dawn of the Worst Case Scenario?

I generally steer clear of top secret, thinly sourced, rumint-heavy reporting from the murky world of the security services. There’s no checking those things for veracity and, unless you know the people involved – which, invariably, I don’t – it’s hard to know how to evaluate the claims made. That said, people I respect are…

Paging General Carvajal

Your attention, please: Paging General Hugo Carvajal…General Carvajal, please report to management immediately. We repeat: General Hugo Carvajal. Report yourself, General Carvajal, as a matter of urgency. Like, right now. [Update: Looks like it was a false alarm. That is the last time I take Ismael García's tweets seriously. (It was the first time, too!)]

Impeached judge talks

This is an exclusive interview with Eladio Aponte. Who is he? He is a former military prosecutor, and a former high-ranking judge on the Venezuelan Supreme Tribunal. Where is he? Outside Venezuela somewhere. Reports say he has signed a deal with the DEA. He is now talking. Why was he impeached? Nobody knows for sure.…

Really, María Corina?

María Corina Machado says she can bring down crime in six months. “We have the will, the knowledge, the resources, and the experience,” to launch an all-out assault on small-time drug trafficking to achieve this, she says. Really, María Corina? You really think you can train more cops, train more prosecutors, train more judges, train…

Tinderbox meets match

There’s a lot to digest in today’s appointment of La Comandante Fosforito (in English, Commander Firecracker) as Minister for the Penitentiary System. It’s no secret that Venezuela’s prison system is one big, hot mess. The buildings themselves are decaying and overcrowded. If you enter there as a petty criminal, chances are you’ll come out either…