Moto-Taxis and their Discontents

Road rage between motorcycles, pedestrians, and vehicles is an everyday sight in Caracas. The asphalt is a hard-fought battle ground. In recent times, radicalism and mediocre policy-making have exacerbated our differences. There is no social pact on how we should conduct ourselves, particularly on the streets. Rather than an harmonic choreography, coexistence between pedestrians, drivers and…

Slow-Cooked Stability

Now that we’re all taking stock of the protest movement, here’s one heretical thought: time is working against it. With every day that passes, it becomes less likely we’ll be able to turn the recent outburst of middle class arrechera into a broad-based, multi-class movement able to challenge the government’s hold on power. Why? Because the red macro-economic adjustment…

Live-blogging the peace talks

5:00: scheduled time to start 6:10 Not yet started… 8:11 Starting. Maduro introduces those present starting with MUD folks. 8:14 setting is a big table with Maduro at the end. We saw no hand shaking at the start. 8:15 Jorge Rodriguez seems so evil. Didalco Bolivar is part of the meeting? 8:21 Letter from the pope… Letter from Vatican Secretary…

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…

Crash dummy policies

Juan wrote a great article today with some really appalling numbers. 817 cars produced in February. January wasn’t great either. The first two months Venezuela produced 1,539 cars. But let’s not weep too much: for much of the last decade and a half, Chávez’s radical-castrocommunist policies created a kind of heaven for these transnationals. CADIVI was the…

Pax Chavista

The government has been pushing hard the idea that they want peace. I don’t doubt it. But it’s a very particular type of peace. It’s peace through domination. It’s the peace that comes after war. It is the subjugation of its opponents. Let’s recap last month’s “peace offensive.” A series of peace conferences were launched on a nation-wide cadena…

We have learned nothing [UPDATE]

As Venezuela slides deeper into the dictatorial morass, the protest movement is setting off a major political crisis. It just happens that that crisis isn’t inside the government, it’s inside the opposition. Don’t believe me? Then let me tell you about the the epic PJ/VP tantrum of last Saturday. It came in two three parts, both of them off-script. First, a group…

The Arepa Wars

Let’s get one thing straight: the Arepa is on the front line of the Economic War. On one side we have the fascists: Polar Corp in allegiance with Gamma Group; Plaza Inc; and Central Maderiense Enterprises – a capitalist cabal bent on stealing the tostada. On the other our gentle, peace-loving, infinitely just government. Heeding…

A Caracas City Shuffle

Venezuela’s government is about to unleash the biggest economic reform set forth in the last 11 years. A currency market is about to be set in place, with far fewer restrictions than the previous systems. This reform is a step back from the toxic policy of exchange control, and it is exactly 11 years late. The…

The Peace Talks Conundrum

In the middle of a heavily repressed state of civil unrest that has been both magnified as a continued coup and minimized as a handful of trouble makers not worth missing a holiday for, Maduro launched his National Peace Conference. The conference was of course forcefully  broadcast by every TV and radio station. In this conference,…

Chronicle of a Crisis Foretold

Venezuela is in full-blown crisis mode. The violence has been in the making for years. It’s not a social or economic crisis – the economy is in shambles, but it’s not yet at its worst. Crime is stratospheric, but then, it has been high for years. The crisis, it seems, goes beyond this. What makes the…

Guaro uprising

Along with other major cities, Barquisimeto has also taken its own share of repression, both by paramilitary groups and the Armed Forces. The protests have, in some cases, been led by prominent local PSUV members. Below, I share a first-person account of a particular attack from a friend. It highlights the way that paramilitary gangs…

The Venezuelan Outcry – FAQs

When did these protests start? On February 5th, students from Universidad de los Andes in San Cristobal went out into the streets. Due to the heavy-handed response by the authorities, the protests quickly gained support from students elsewhere and now have spread to many other parts of civil society especially – but not only – in the middle…