Caracas-sangrante-1996

“¡Aquí fue!”

“I haven’t had tenderloin in two years.” I’m having lunch with Leticia and her husband Gonzalo in an upscale Santiago beef restaurant. I don’t know them very well, but they are friends of a good friend, so I invited them out to show them the city. They live in Caracas, passing through Santiago because Gonzalo, a mid-level manager…

ibsen-martinez

Telenovela politics, by @SimpataXKingKon

Ibsen Martínez is a Venezuelan playwright and essayist who needs no introductions. His latest OpEd for the New York Times links the Spear murders, telenovela productions, Teodoro Petkoff, and scarcity to paint a smorgasbord of the surreal reality of Venezuela’s TV industry. The money quote: This violence seems far away from the sleek air-conditioned studios where our telenovela…

Casabe

The Casabe Wars

Casabe is to eastern Venezuelans what arepas are to the country at large. An everyday bread made from yucca flour, it accompains just about anything. Soup? (Mondongo, fish, chipi chipi) … some casabe on the side. Fried sardines? Put them on casabe. Tuna Salad? Casabe. Salpicón de Mariscos? Casabe. A cheese platter with Brie and Edam?…

Chavez rain

A legacy of destruction

We all know the late Hugo Chávez destroyed the Fourth Republic, Venezuela’s institutions, its oil industry, and pretty much everything in his path. As we ponder his actual legacy, here are three things worth mentioning … that he also destroyed. 1. He destroyed the idea of Venezuela as a nation. What is a country, really?…

Thanks for everything Tio Simón

“Tío Simón” has left us

The acclaimed Simón Díaz, Venezuela’s foremost folk singer and all around national treasure, passed away this morning, according to this message from his daugther Bettsimar. He was 85. He will be remembered fondly by Venezuelans of all generations. Musician, actor, TV host, he was simply one of a kind. On behalf of Caracas Chronicles, our deepest condolences…

MADURO ORQUESTA

In defense of Dudamel

(This post is going to get me in deeper doodoo than I already am with some friends, but here goes) Gustavo Dudamel, the brilliant Venezuelan conductor and current Musical Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, is as close we get to a Venezuelan superstar. A musical prodigy, he is the poster boy for El Sistema,…

Burriquita

Cruz Diez in black and white

If you’re in New York and are looking for something new to see related to Venezuela, stop by the Americas Society. They have an exhibit of Carlos Cruz Diez’s black and white photographs of Venezuelan folklore from the 1940s, curated by my friend Gabriela Rangel. The pictures have never been shown before. I found this…

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…

Super-hero

Qué bonito, qué Bello

The decision by the editors of The Economist to name their new weekly column on Latin America after Andrés Bello came as a soothing elixir to my beat-up sense of patriotism. After decades of the corrupt, the vulgar, the vain, and the violent taking center stage, it’s nice to read something about Venezuela that doesn’t make…

The @naky chronicles

One of the great things about new media is discovering new voices, people who wouldn’t get heard if the public sphere was still in the hands of the stiffs who reign over the op-ed pages in El Nacional and El Universal, with their stuffy Carlos Blancos and their Manuel Felipe Sierras leaving no space for…