The Briefing

I’ll tell you what I do find significant about the revelation that the U.S. now has a long and fast-growing list of witnesses explaining how Diosdado Cabello’s sprawling drug-running operation works in minute detail: The Briefing. Just imagine the kinds of intelligence briefings Thomas Shannon must be giving to cancillerías all up and down the…

Aragua conflict enters new phase (Updated)

The current battle in Aragua State between the authorities and criminal gangs took a sudden shift for the worse after a massive police and military operation was held yesterday in Barrio San Vicente (located in the capital, Maracay – Venezuela’s fifth-largest city). In the early hours of Wednesday, almost 2,000 (yes, two *thoursand*) members of…

Grenades galore (Updated)

The last few days have been quite tense in Aragua State, as an undeclared conflict between criminal gangs and the authorities heats up. It all began last Thursday when six members of the criminal gang known as “El Kilverth” (named for the leader’s alias) were killed in a shootout following their attack on a local police station near San Mateo,…

Leave no trace behind

There are already plenty of reports recording what happened in the wave of protests last year, but a new one from the Human Rights Center of the Andres Bello Catholic University (CDH-UCAB) puts the magnifying glass on the State’s many strategies to cover up its abuses. Under the title “Que no quede rastro” (Leave no Trace Behind),…

Jailhouse Overload

In case you missed it, there was a hostage crisis last week at the Bolivarian National Police HQ in Caracas. A group of inmates took two officers as a form of protest for the overcrowding and the endless delays in their judicial process. One of the inmates died during the riot. The standoff ended after some…

Deadly Peace in the Tuy Valley (Updated)

Another weekend, another massacre in Venezuela: ten people were killed and three wounded during a late birthday party in Lomas de Guadalupe, a recently opened housing complex located near the town of Ocumare del Tuy (Miranda State). Sadly, the details of the incident sound all too familiar. An armed group came into the building and shot…

Defending the consumer society

For the last decade we have been told that consumerism … is bad. It is evil. It sustains the capitalists, who in return exploit the common folk. The State must intervene on behalf of the common folk and restore the means of production to the proletariat. Stop exploitation is the calling. We need to call them…

It which cannot be named

Diosdado Cabello is suing El Nacional, Tal Cual, and LaPatilla.com for writing pieces claiming he is a drug smuggler. Of course, these news sites were not claiming such things, but simply repeating what is being said abroad about Cabello. The real reason behind Cabello’s lawsuit has a first and a last name, as well as…

Preach, father

Over the last few years, Father Alejandro Moreno has established himself as an authority on the topic of Venezuela’s crime epidemic. For years, he has toiled in Venezuela’s toughest neighborhoods. This has given him an insider’s look at what makes these criminals tick. This interview of the father by the Venezuelan news outlet Contrapunto is astonishing.…

A matter of cops and death

How bad does the security situation have to be in a country for the cops themselves to go out to protest… because they don’t feel safe on the job? Bad. Really bad. In Miranda State and Caracas alone, 45 police officers have been killed in 2015 so far. Nationwide, according to NGO Due Process Foundation (FUNDEPRO), at least 105…

Eco-socialism is just a facade

What is “eco-socialism”? It’s basically the central government’s term for both its environmental policy and for the ministry in charge of it (which just changed its denomination to Environment and Waters, as Audrey has pointed out). But what does “eco-socialism” really stand for? Mostly, it’s for using environmental issues as political taglines. For example, the government’s PR…

Welcome Back

So, this flew under my radar, but  apparently Maduro backtracked on the the decision to fuse the Environmental Ministry and the Habitat Ministry, and now, we will once again have and environmental ministry. It will be called the  Ecosocialism and Water Ministry (time to change the letterhead AGAIN guys) and the new minister is Guillermo Barreto. Barreto will…

I found the average Venezuelan

(Today at Plan Pais I was honored to have been asked to moderate a panel composed of Asdrubal Aguiar, Carlos Blanco, Miriam Kornblith, Juan Maragall, and Ricardo Villasmil. The topic was on the search for a new narrative for Venezuela. This is a translated version of my opening remarks – specially dedicated to Edanis, wherever…