broken-cell-phone

Can I have MY number?

Mobile Number Portability (MNP) – the ability to change carriers without having to change your phone number – is becoming a hot topic of debate all over the world. In Latin America, several countries have already implemented this regulation, and many more are well on their way to doing so. This is particularly important for…

Boondoggles as non-traditional exports

From Sochi with love

Now that we are done with the introductions and the sappy posts, let us get down to business. I came across this viral article from the Washington Post that describes the hardships endured by sports journalists in their hotels while covering the Sochi Olympics. The tweets and pictures show unfinished facilities, incompetent personnel, pictures of Putin on…

Pirueta

Uneasy Riders

Bikers in Venezuela – locally known as “motorizados” – are a fascinating subculture. Going from motopirueteros to mototaxis to messengers, they are a definitive part of the Venezuelan urban ecosystem, albeit one not held in very high esteem.  To many, motorizados are a big, emotionally charged problem. My experiences with motorizados have been bittersweet. My side…

Venezolana airlines

The suckiest way to fly

In recent days, passengers of flights by Venezuelan air carrier RAVSA, better known as La Venezolana faced long delays. Really, really long delays. As other airlines started to help out and the government began getting involved, rumours over the fact that company is now operating with only one aircraft sound kinda feasible. Over the years…

On the waterfront

Reading this story about how close we are to a collapse in our ports, about how there are 434 thousand tons of food waiting to be unloaded, about how there aren’t enough trucks to haul all this stuff around, and about how dock workers are going to be asked to work on Sundays, makes me…

“New Conferry” Chronicles (Corrected)

Since its expropiation by the government almost two years ago, shipping company Conferry (which connects Margarita and Coche Islands with the mainland) has not lived up to its “New Conferry” billing. Travellers wait for hours inside Conferry’s terminal in Puerto La Cruz, with only a tent for cover. As most of the fleet lacks maintenance,…

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…

“Pico y Placa” Chronicles

Just four months before the 8-D local elections, the central government has suddenly discovered there’s total traffic chaos in Caracas and now wants to do something about it. Ground Transportation Minister Haiman El Troudi made public this week the “Mobility Plan for Caracas”. During his presentation, El-Troudi was open to apply traffic restriction measures, like…

Fruto Vivas and the Farruco doctrine

Well-known Venezuelan architect Fruto Vivas (seen in the photo) has been in the news lately: one of his most famous works, the former Venezuelan pavillion of the Expo 2000 (known as “the flower of Venezuela”)  has been front and center in the ongoing political battle between Lara State governor Henri Falcon and the central government…

Motorizado nation

With the transformation of the Venezuelan landscape in recent decades, the figure of the motorcyclist (motorizado) has become almost omnipresent not only in the largest cities, but also right in the countryside. Last December, while travelling to Merida through the TrasAndina roadway, the car made a technical stop in Barinitas. During that brief time I…

Caracas-one-can-only-dream-of Chronicles

As long-time readers know, traffic in Caracas is one of our favorite topics. This video I caught today reminds me that we haven’t written about it in a while. So on the day when Maduro signs what is, more or less,  an agreement to form a commission to study the design and further implementation of…