Sobremesa Chronicles

“Who comes from Colombia to Venezuela? These are people who come with no education, without a penny in their pocket, it’s the poor who come fleeing … Venezuela has become a magnet, a guarantee for social rights for the Colombian people. I have to say it, and I ask for your understanding … I don’t offend Colombia…

Santa Bárbara

It’s 6:30 PM, and it’s already pitch dark in Maracaibo, courtesy of Hugo Chávez’s tantrum that led to a change in the time zone a few years back. I’m having dinner with an old high school friend at the shore of the lake. The warm, humid July breeze brings with it a mixture of dust and nostalgia. We’re…

Sobremesa Chronicles

Upon my arrival in Caracas, I expected to hear lots of stories about Leopoldo, or about scarcity, or about the lack of freedom in the press. Instead, the latest gossip revolved around a party. The teenage son of a big-time chavista boligarch threw an unforgettable bash in a Caracas Country Club house last Friday: one thousand…

Sobremesa Chronicles

A new study by American University yields a result that, to some, might seem shocking: right after it changed ownership, Globovisión became an unbiased news outlet. Three academics linked to the University, led by Prof. Michael McCarthy, studied the station’s broadcasts between 2013 and the summer of 2014. They found that there was no bias in the station’s coverage,…

Sobremesa Chronicles

Bitching about our country is sort of our national sport. We all partake, more or less. But you know where I draw the line? When people say that “oil is a curse.” Oil is a blessing. A huge one. Folks – oil is the only thing we’ve got goin’ for us. Our agriculture is the pits pretty much everywhere…

Sobremesa chronicles

(For this week’s sobremesa, Rodrigo chimes in re. the “morality” of selling your dollar allowance) In Venezuela you get a yearly dollar allowance. If you use your allowance, nothing happens. If you sell your allowance, you could face jail time, and also be considered traitor to you Fatherland. But is it morally wrong to sell what the…

Sobremesa Chronicles

Ángel Rodríguez. Roy Daza. Walter Gavidia. Dalia Herminia Yánez. Carolus Wimmer. Quick – what do all these people have in common? … Well, unless you’re related to them, you probably do not know. They are four of Venezuela’s representatives to the Latin American Parliament, a useless waste of taxpayer money if I ever saw one. Look,…

Sobremesa Chronicles

My petty little rant about the four posts in Prodavinci got me thinking about an issue that has tortured me for a while: what role, if any, should foreigners play in the unfolding Venezuelan tragedy? We’ve all heard it before: Venezuela’s problems are for Venezuelans to resolve. And while that is a nice little theory,…

Sobremesa Chronicles

Yesterday, Venezuela lost one of its greatest artists. I dare say Pedro León Zapata was THE greatest artist of the last era of our history. Why is this controversial? Zapata was a cartoonist. Doesn’t sound like high art, right? Large crises are usually fodder for artists. Picasso’s greatest painting was inspired by the carnage of Guernica. Steinbeck would not…

Sobremesa Chronicles

This has been a rough week for us Venezuelans. Each new day brought with it a new embarassment, most of it having to do with the government. Each day a new raya. Whether it’s the harassment of ex-Presidents and political prisoners, the revelations of drug smuggling in high places, the orders to shoot protesters, the…

Sobremesa chronicles

In the last few days, a document has been circulating. In it, sixty well-known Venezuelan economists (most of whom I appreciate and admire) make a list of urgent measures Nicolás Maduro has to undertake. You know what’s missing from it? The pressing need … to privatize. Oops. Did I say that out loud? In Venezuela, it…