The mausoleum still awaits its opening

The day after Bolivar’s new 3D face was revealed to the public, Hugo Chavez was supposed to officially open the new mausoleum behind the National Pantheon, as a permanent place of rest for the Libertador’s remains. The Communication Minister Andres Izarra released then this photo of VP Elias Jaua and State Minister Farruco Sesto, making…

El Caracazo nuestro de cada día

So I’m just now – far too late, I know – settling down to read Mirtha Riveros’s La Rebelión de los Náufragos, a blow-by-blow account the pivotal second CAP government of 1989-1993. It’s a cracking good read. I’ll be posting thoughts on it over days to come. For now, I just want to note one…

El Amo del Uncanny Valley

S-Bol’s 229th birthday won’t be an ordinary one. Right in the middle of the presidential campaign, the Chavernment will use it to push its electoral narrative while continue the adaptation of our history to its ideological purposes. First, a new state-of-the-art computer reconstruction of Bolivar’s face has just been unveiled. Turns out the Libertador was,…

The Opposite of Bolivarianism

On S-Bol’s not-so-happy 229th, I’d like to make a rather obvious but not-often-enough-stated point that came to mind reading AUP’s eye-opening Godos, Insurgentes y Visionarios: if Hugo Chávez has a legitimate claim to being the reincarnation of an independence era figure, that figure sure isn’t Bolívar. Because, let’s be clear, the First Republic was a rebellion…

Fun Mental Exercise of the Day

How would Venezuela be different if the constitution had allowed Jaime Lusinchi to be re-elected president in 1988? If instead of leaving a new administration without a penny in reserves, forcing a new team to own the arithmetically unavoidable, socially explosive adjustment, the old adeco nomenklatura had had to face the music? What if it’d…

Libertadorland: Chavismo’s answer to Disney World

Since its beginning, the Chavernment has exploited Venezuelan historical figures for its own benefit. From action figures to cheap TV movies and even Chinese satellites named after them, Chavismo has always tried to push the narrative of a permanent struggle for independence into all walks of life. So, what is left to do with the…

The Machurucuto Incident

It’s not just a great name for a band: 45 years ago this week, a group of Cuban and Cuban-trained Venezuelan guerrillas actually tried to invade Venezuela by sea through Machurucuto (just east of Higuerote). Machurucuto was a kind of through-the-looking-glass Bay of Pigs that went just as badly as the original: when all was…

Baduel’s Aprils

Since every 11th has its 13th, I thought I should also write about what the April crisis must look like through General Baduel’s eyes: In truth, he should have seen it coming. He should have realized how dangerous it is to be known as the man who saved the revolution. President Chávez, he must have…