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…


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…


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…


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)  


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…