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Venezuela’s Own (Gas) Platform Disaster

According to the law of comparative advantage in economics, each country has production advantages in comparison to other states. Venezuela too, has its strengths. It produces more Major League baseball players per capita than most other countries. Along with Puerto Rico, it has won the most Miss Universe crowns over …

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In Venezuela, Dare Not Bite the Hand That Feeds You

Raúl Isaías Baduel, who once served as Venezuela’s defense minister, now faces an 8-year prison sentence after being found guilty on corruption charges. He has already been in prison for more than a year, pending the trial’s outcome. Baduel had resigned his position in the government three years ago over …

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Chavez Takes Up Twitter

This blog does not purport to cover all relevant news that takes place in Venezuela, but instead provides some insight into major issues. Now, however, if you wish to get the latest update straight from President Hugo Chávez you can do so by following his Twitter feed @chavezcandanga.
The move appears …

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Arizona’s New Immigration Law: Understanding Its Implications

Last week Arizona’s governor, Jan Brewer, signed into law what are now the country’s harshest measures for responding to irregular (often referred to as illegal) immigration. The state has 90 days to put the law into effect. In summary, it has four main provisions:
– it is a crime to be …

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Venezuela Celebrates Act of Independence Bicentennial

In Venezuela, the date April 19th is known as the “Signing of the Act of Independence”, a major move towards separation from Spain. The full declaration of independence came the next year, on July 5, 1811. This was followed by a decade of bloody battles in which Simón Bolívar rose …

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Urbanization Leading to “Mega-Regions”

UN-Habitat released its biannual “State of the World’s Cities” report in March, a 250+ page document that covers all manner of subjects about our increasingly urbanized world. More than half of all people now live in cities, and this …

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Putin Travels to Venezuela

In another sign of strengthened ties between Venezuela and Russia, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited Hugo Chávez on Friday. Together they toured the Kruzenshtern, a Russian ship docked at the Venezuelan port city of La Guiara, and spent time in Miraflores, the equivalent of Venezuela’s White House. While in Caracas …

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Immigrants and the US Census

The United States is a country of immigrants – even more so if they are counted successfully in the current 2010 Census. Extra efforts have been made to reach previously undercounted populations, including those arriving as migrants.
One reason that recent immigrants are less likely to participate may be lack of …

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Energy Crisis Leads to Extended Semana Santa Vacation

This coming Monday Venezuelans will enjoy an entire week off to celebrate Semana Santa (Holy Week) instead of the normal Thursday-Friday break. One might think that in a country where more than 90% of the population is Catholic this would be cause for greater attendance at church. In reality, …

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Internet Restrictions in Venezuela?

President Hugo Chávez wants to place restrictions on the Internet in Venezuela after he criticized negative coverage from Noticiero Digital, a website generally opposing the government. The site had incorrectly reported the assassination of a top government official.
Frustration with a false report is understandable. Any broader move to limit news …

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IACHR Issues Strong Critique of Venezuela

Late last month the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) released a lengthy report that described a weakening of democratic freedoms and rights in Venezuela.
In its overview, the Commission stated that the country experiences:
“political intolerance; the lack of independence of the branches of the State in dealing with the executive; …

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Chavez and Uribe Trade Barbs

A private meeting between the Venezuelan and Colombian leaders apparently ended in a shouting match on Monday. They were both attending a Latin American summit in Cancun, Mexico.
An already tense discussion appeared to blow up when Chávez raised the issue of Colombian paramilitaries.
The explanation of the words used is critical, …

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Government Open to New Contracts with Foreign Oil Companies

Likely a further sign of his government’s economic woes, President Hugo Chávez’s administration is offering oil contracts to foreign companies. The response to the bidding for concessions was not as strong as it has been in the past, as many companies have been burned by Chávez’s expropriation of assets. Still, …

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Cuban Minister Consults Venezuelan Government

Ramiro Valdes, a Cuban revolutionary closely tied to Fidel Castro for decades, is now working with the Venezuelan government in Caracas. Valdes currently serves as Cuba’s Minister in communications and information.
The Venezuelan opposition is incensed, pointing out Valdes’ previous role as Interior Minister in Cuba, where he was in charge …

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Drownings Reveal Risk of Irregular Migration

News of irregular immigration into the United States often focuses on those trying to cross the border via land. Huge fences and security cameras monitor the divide between the US and Mexico (less so the northern border with Canada – that is material for another blog post), while scanning machines …

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About the Author

David D. Sussman

David D. Sussman is currently a PhD Candidate at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University), in Boston, Massachusetts. Serving as a fellow at the Feinstein International Center, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study the lives of Colombian refugees and economic migrants in Caracas, Venezuela. David has worked on a variety of migrant issues that include the health of displaced persons, domestic resettlement of refugees, and structured labor-migration programs. He holds a Masters in International Relations from the Fletcher School, where he studied the integration of Somali and Salvadoran immigrants. David has a B.A. from Dartmouth College and is fluent in Spanish. He has lived in Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico and Venezuela, and also traveled throughout Latin America. In his free time David enjoys reading up on international news, playing soccer, cooking arepas, and dancing salsa casino. Areas of Focus: Latin America; Migration; Venezuela.

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