F-Rod and Hausmann at it again

The weekend negotiations between Greece and her creditors was quite the spectacle. One of the many lessons we can draw from it is that it’s really hard to be a left-wing populist when you’re presiding over a bankrupt economy. Sooner or later, you have to face reality. Speaking of Maduro … when will Venezuela have to face…

Inside Out

I recently saw “Inside Out” [If you haven’t seen it, GO NOW!]. The film made me realize that we always talk about the economic crisis, but we rarely talk about what we think and feel during the time we stand in line, in las colas. This is the story of how a simple task became a roller-coaster…

“You’re on your own,” says Japan

The Japan Times is reporting that exports to Venezuela will no longer be covered by insurance underwritten by Nippon Export and Investment Insurance. Basically, the country has become too insecure to be insured. This means that any Japanese company exporting to Venezuela will have to cover the risk of not getting paid for their shipments…

Six Hundred Something

Not like we’ll be posting the price of the black market Dollar every time it spikes, but just one week ago it hit the 500 mark. DolarToday’s closing rate for this evening was Bs. 611.88. That’s a hell of a leap. [Or yeah, maybe we’re the jerks who scream the new price of the Dollar whenever it…

A grim goodbye

I left Venezuela yesterday after spending ten days there. I have tons of things I want to write about once I get my thoughts in order, but one particular thing stuck with me. It happened to be the last thing I saw of our country. As I was taking off from a barren, deserted Maiquetía…

Government does something not-crazy, scrambles to hide it

Did you hear? Venezuela raised gasoline prices yesterday. Not nationwide, of course: just locally, in areas near the Colombian border where gasoline smuggling had become completely rampant. Pumps nearest the border are now charging Bs.83 for a liter of gas, while pumps slightly further away are charging Bs.50. If you know anything about Venezuela you know there’s…

Thirteen conversations about one thing

Being back in Caracas after many months provides a plethora of opportunities for blogging. And while there is much to say about the big issues, curiously I’ve had numerous conversations about … lightbulbs. The country’s acute scarcity is everywhere, but it’s hard to see if there is no light. And light is definitely missing. Lightbulbs are on…

Things they don’t teach you about in Stanford

There is an interesting piece in the Business Section of the [increasingly indispensable] Wall Street Journal focused on PDVSA President Eulogio del Pino. I wouldn’t call it a profile per se – Del Pino did not make himself available to friend-of-the-blog Kejal Vyas, so he hovers over the story like a ghost. But the story claims del Pino…

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…

Tracking down the Benjamins

For the second week in a row, Fusion’s Manuel Rueda has published an eye-catching piece on Venezuela. In this one, he tracks down the owner of DolarToday, the website that tracks the unofficial exchange rate between the Venezuelan BsF and the greenback. The website has become a thorn on the side of the Maduro administration.…

The election needs to be bought

It’s distressing to think about the Venezuelan government’s latest financial moves. Not for what the moves entail, necessarily, but because of the obvious reason that is driving them. First, the government announces it is tapping IMF holdings, about $389 million it held in its “Special Drawing Rights.” Then, they announced a new “agreement” (i.e. loan) with…

Chavismo on wheels

In early April, a close relative of mine was looking everywhere for new tires. He hasn’t found anything yet. At least he isn’t the only one caught in this pickle. Car tires are part of the long, long list of stuff that is currently lacking in this country. People are doing the impossible to find them. Some…

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,…