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Death is easy to find. Coffins? Not so much

Most Venezuelan businesses are having a tough time these days, but you would think funeral homes would be booming – what with a crime wave and all. Turns out funeral homes are just like any other business, albeit slightly creepier: in a recent interview, Ricardo Guedez, member of the Venezuelan Funeral Parlors’ Association (Canadefu), spoke of the multiple…

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Life meets pavement

Tents, bare mats, improvised shelters, tattered refrigerators, and used-up kitchen utensils cover the sidewalk of this stretch of Avenida Lecuna, in downtown Caracas. Several government-subsidized buildings on both sides of the street are adorned with propaganda. Women, men, and kids stand by, looking at each other and at the cars driving on this busy street. They sit on…

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What leaving Venezuela means to Jews

In February 1939, two ships approached the shores of Venezuela after a long, desperate voyage. The Konisgtein and the Caribia’s captains had already asked for asylum in many other ports, now they pleaded with the authorities to allow the entry of its 251 passengers. But it was 1939, and the ship’s human cargo was considered radioactive. Why? Because most of the passengers were…

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El Gordo Bayón

Yorman Márquez, aka El Gordo Bayón, was gunned down a few days ago. His story is like a micro-cosm of chavista Venezuela – union leader, alleged murderer, ex-con, high-level political operative, victim. Read it and weep. (HT: OB)  

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The Violence Epidemic in Two Charts

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluations has a handy data visualization tool here on worldwide causes of death and disability. The Venezuela pages are somewhat startling. One key measure is Years of Life Lost: a statistical measure of the years of life a person would have been expected to live had they not died prematurely. In…

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A rare judicial win for the opposition

Article 68 of the Venezuelan Constitution reads as follows: “Citizens have the right to demonstrate peacefully and without weapons, with no other requirements than those established in the law. The use of firearms and other toxic substances to control peaceful demonstrations is prohibited. The law shall regulate the actions of police and safety organizations when controlling public…

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The notorious P.N.B.

Having the second highest homicide rate in the world is not an honor that any nation wants to carry on its shoulders, and the burden is particularly high for those in charge of protecting the lives of its citizens. With so many government plans against crime launched in the last few years, it’s difficult to see how…

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Venezuela’s orphaned parents

(A guest post by Daniela Alexandra Porat, a Toronto-based Venezuelan ex-pat and CC reader) Venezuela’s current crisis finds a mirror in the stories of the country’s padres huérfanos. These so-called “orphaned parents” are the older Venezuelans who send their offspring abroad to save them from the the brutal crime in Venezuela’s streets, helping them start…

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Perceptions of a crime wave

Venezuela’s Tourism Minister Andrés Izarra (infamous for having laughed about Venezuela’s high death rates on an international cable show in 2010), recently had this to say “[la inseguridad] es un problema real, existe. No lo negamos, estamos trabajando, como todos los países de América Latina lo están trabajando, lo están atendiendo (…) ¿cuál es la particularidad de Venezuela con ese…

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Roadblocks for democracy

Right now, the current debate in the opposition seems to be on whether protests are convenient or not. I think we should focus more on the type of protest that we engage in. Democracy rests on a few basic principles, one of which is that people have a right to free assembly. Right now, free…

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Violence on campus, by @Naky

Chavistas love to repeat the tired old canard that the protest movements are “contained,” and “limited” to well-to do areas of Caracas. Just yesterday, the President was boasting in the New York Times that the protests “have received no support in poor and working-class neighborhoods.” What they deliberately fail to mention is the tiny fact that opposition protests in…