President Nicolás Maduro is a fraud, his government is incompetent and corrupt, most ministers should be sacked, the ruling Socialist Party’s ideological discourse is sterile, the national “Bolivarian” project is on a suicide path, and there is a growing risk of a coup from within the administration.
But don’t believe the FT on any of this. These are the words of Heinz Dieterich, a Marxist professor and former mentor of Hugo Chávez, writing in the leftist website Aporrea. Having cleared our throats before Sunday’s municipal elections, what actually is at stake at the vote — in concrete terms? Continue reading »
As beyondbrics was landing on Monday evening, Venezuela’s capital gave it a warm welcome: a massive blackout. A big chunk of the country was without power, including much of Caracas.
Roving the streets of one of the world’s most dangerous cities in complete darkness was quite an experience – even for your correspondent’s seasoned driver, desperately calling family and friends to check if they were doing fine. Continue reading »
First, he came for the toilet paper factory. Then, late on Friday, Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro seized a national chain of electronic stores as part of his battle against galloping inflation and rampant shortages he blames on an “economic war” coming from right-wing contrarians.
Maduro sent soldiers to “occupy” Daka, (similar to Best Buy in the US), accusing them of unjustified price hikes and said it will force them to sell everything at “fair prices”. Continue reading »
Christmas comes round pretty quickly each year – too quickly for some, given the proliferation of Xmas ads on TV. But not soon enough, it seems, for Venezuela’s President, Nicolás Maduro. Forget the calendar: over the weekend he wished his followers a “merry early Christmas”, flicking on the lights at the presidential palace and saluting the Three Wise Men.
His decision of advancing Christmas by decree means that workers will receive the first two-thirds of their bonuses and pensions next week, with the remaining in early December, and that the supply of some 50m toys will be guaranteed in a country that is battling shortages. Continue reading »
What to do if you are a president struggling with massive shortages and galloping inflation? You create a Deputy Ministry of Supreme Social Happiness, to try keep people, well, happy.
That is what Venezuela’s President Maduro announced late last week, stating that the ministry co-ordinate all the poverty alleviation programmes installed by his mentor and predecessor Hugo Chávez. Leaving aside the self-declared good intentions, some commentators smell political motives ahead of municipal polls in December already perceived as a plebiscite on Maduro’s rule. Continue reading »
Even the IndyCar Series now appears to have been hit by Venezuela’s currency jousts, another example of the country’s citizens desperately trying to skirt around the country’s tight foreign exchange controls.
On Friday, officials froze the hard currency allowance to automobile and motorcycle racers who compete overseas while they are being investigated over activities that might be “fictitious or overpriced”. Continue reading »
For a country where consumers are often hard-pressed to find staples like milk or toilet paper, Venezuela certainly has no shortage of scandals. After last month’s accusations of electoral fraud and a saloon-style brawl in congress, now Mario Silva, a TV talk show host, rabble-rouser and the best journalist in Venezuela – according to the late president, Hugo Chávez – has fallen into the fray.
In an extraordinary hour-long recording of what opposition politicians say is a conversation between Silva and a top Cuban intelligence official, the chavista broadcaster delivers a laundry list of backbiting and corruption at the highest levels of chavismo. Venezuelans are wondering what will come next. Continue reading »
Perhaps the most revealing feature of the wikileaks publication of US diplomatic cables a few years ago is that it showed that what Washington said in public to other governments is also what is said to them in private.
By contrast, many other governments, especially in the Gulf but also in Latin America, were often revealed as two-faced hypocrites that praised each other publicly in elaborate shows of regional unity while privately stabbing each other in the back. That remains as true as ever today when it comes to Venezuela’s contested presidential election, which Nicolás Maduro, heir of Hugo Chávez, won by a whisker. Continue reading »
Violence has erupted in Venezuela after Nicolás Maduro won the narrowest of victories in the weekend’s presidential election, with opposition leader Henrique Capriles questioning the result. John Paul Rathbone, Latin America editor, discusses with deputy emerging markets editor Jonathan Wheatley the implications of the disputed result on the country and investors’ view of it.
Henrique Capriles would of course have preferred to win Venezuela’s elections last Sunday. But the fact that his rival Nicolás Maduro only won by a whisker meant that he has emerged greatly strengthened.
Now, however, the ugly wave of violence perpetrated by government opponents that has gripped the volatile Caribbean country since the vote, so far leaving seven dead and 61 wounded, is jeopardising Capriles’ newfound strength. Continue reading »
By Russ Dallen of Caracas Capital Markets
Even though he was not on the ballot, Hugo Chávez loomed large in Sunday’s snap Presidential election in Venezuela. But the fact that Henrique Capriles, the opposition leader, managed to capture 49.1 per cent of the vote seems to suggest that economic realities are starting to loom larger for some voters. Continue reading »
By Michael McCarthy of Johns Hopkins-SAIS
So, the chavista revolution continues: interim president Nicolás Maduro has defeated opposition leader Henrique Capriles Radonski by 7,505,338 votes (50.7 per cent) to 7,270,403 (49.1 per cent) in Venezuela’s presidential election. But as the late Hugo Chávez liked to say in a different context, the revolution continues por ahora (for now). Continue reading »
Only six weeks in the grave, and Hugo Chávez’s socialist dream is fading fast, writes John Paul Rathbone. Last night, the chosen successor of “el commandante”, Nicolas Maduro, won Venezuela’s presidential election, but only by whisker. Maduro – “the self-proclaimed son of Chavez” – got 50.7 per cent of the vote, versus 49.1 per cent for Henrique Capriles, the opposition leader. That compares to an 11 point win for Mr Chavez in October’s presidential election. Mr Capriles has refused to accept the result until the votes are fully audited. Continue reading »