Eulogio, Venezuela’s mighty oil Czar

On Tuesday evening, President Nicolás Maduro announced what in revolutionary newspeak is referred to as a sacudón (shake-up), otherwise known to the rest of the globe as cabinet reshuffle. The most noteworthy replacement happened in the Ministry of the Popular Power for Petroleum and Mining. Eulogio Del Pino, who is, and will continue to be, the chief of state oil company PDVSA, will be taking…

Is Greece-zuela a possibility?

Greece has defaulted on one of its many liabilities to its creditors by missing a €1.5 billion  of its debt to the IMF. The Greek economy has already taken quite a toll, falling into depression. Greece’s economy has contracted by a quarter since the start of the crisis, and its unemployment rate is sitting over 25%. You may…

Hyperinflation or just high inflation?

Is Venezuela headed towards hyperinflation? A few days ago, Quico dismissed allegations of runaway hyperinflation in the country. He used a report put out by Francisco Rodriguez and his team at BofA using over five thousand regressions to estimate the annualised inflation rate of Venezuela based on the few economic indicators we have. His conclusion was that we’re not…

Will the dollar stop rising any time soon?

On Thursday afternoon, Venezuelans found out how their foreign purchasing power evaporated – quite literally – by the minute, as the US dollar surpassed the 400 bolívares (BsF) mark. This was according to the “coup-plotters/saboteurs” from “Dolar today,” the most widely used web page for Venezuela’s black market exchange rate. Other web pages, such as Lechuga verde or Aguacate verde,…

Muzzling a country

Covering the quagmire that Venezuela has become in a fair way has always been the main purpose of Caracas Chronicles. As bloggers we try to unveil to the world what’s really happening on the political, economic and social fronts, providing our humble analysis of the status quo. Yet recently it has become extremely hard to justify our arguments given…

Dear President Obama: Of gringos, neighbours and Pepe

What a couple of weeks these have been for an already rattled Venezuela. Government officials have been slapped with sanctions. Foreign assets have been seized. Corruption scandals have been unveiled. The economy is in free fall, the black market dollar is outpacing the official SIMADI one, and the country the Revolution has granted Nicolás Maduro new special but not-so-special powers to…

A tale of two oppositions

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief it was the epoch of incredulity…”. Those of you who have read “A tale of two cities” surely recall the memorable opening paragraph of Dickens’s masterpiece,…

What is the state for?

The Venezuelan government headed East last week to beg for funds from the Chinese in order to save their Revolutionary State. Yet chavismo’s global treasure hunt, regardless of the outcome, is not the only race in town. All over the world politicians, scholars, businessmen and ordinary citizens are pondering a new purpose for the state, and what it is good for in…

A benchmark for our troubles

This has been a gruesome year for Venezuela. But as our economy collapses, economists are finding it hard to assess just how screwed up we are, since Venezuela’s Central Bank refuses to publish economic data. It’s also becoming very hard to forecast how clusterfucked we’ll be in 2015. In this context, economists have to come up with whatever they can.…

A glass 98% full

In an interesting article in the WSJ in January, an analogy was made: Brazil was starting to look like Argentina, Argentina was looking like Venezuela, and Venezuela was resembling Zimbabwe. This metamorphosis was put to the test, when Brazil’s colossal voice resonated across the region as elections were held last Sunday. The continent held its breath to see if change was…

Hotspots: Sucre’s innovative way of fighting crime

Before the economic storm severely hit Venezuelans wallets, crime was people’s biggest national concern, topping scarcity, inequality, inflation or anything. In spite of being bumped, it is still is a huge concern. But … what can we do about it? As it turns out, sometimes the answer involves just a little bit of ingenuity, and a lot…

Is Populism beatable?

  Populism has been the driving force behind both our political landscape and our economic misfortunes. This trait has marked the misguided economic policies of several administrations, with Chavismo just exacerbating the problem. Because, in essence chavismo repeats a well’worn recipe: continue to fuel the spending binge, among other insane policies, with an unprecedented oil boom…

Is “Little Venice” a failed state…yet?

A country located in the northern part of South America, one that was baptized “Little Venice,” has been raising eyebrows for quite some time. While neither little nor as pleasant as Venice, the government of this fair republic seems unable to impose its own authority within its borders. Here in “Little Venice,” a burgeoning class of smugglers, racketeering bandits,…

Few groceries, fewer former leaders

Typically, when discussing a particular country’s fortunes, Investment banks, NGOs, Multilateral Development Institutions, and society as a whole expect some of its former heads of state to speak out about the country’s challenges. Their wisdom is often used as a barometer, their opinion on how they might address problems is sought after when an electoral…