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Tag Archives: Venezuela

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; constraints on freedom […]

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Lula, the Squid

Lula, the Squid

In Brazil, nicknames are very common, especially for famous people and even politicians. President Lula da Silva received his nickname when he was  young, since the common nickname for Luiz, his given name, is Lula (similar to calling a person named Robert, Bob). However, given that lula means squid in Portuguese, the president has really […]

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Taking on the Americas

On the heels on the announcement that Latin America is forming a new regional organization without the US and Canada to rival the Organization of American States, it looks like the current Inter-American system is coming under fire. Or at least it is from Venezuela. After the release of a 300 page report by the […]

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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, since the meeting […]

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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, Chevron and Repsol (of Spain) […]

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Venezuela and Chevron — A Love Story

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela, has changed his mind.  He loves big oil companies after all. The history of Big Oil and Hugo Chavez reads like one of those dysfunctional relationships most of us have at least briefly been involved in: he or she only loves you when they […]

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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 of surveillance and accused […]

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RCTV Closure Leads to Student Protests

Last week the Venezuelan government cut off six cable TV stations, citing a failure to comply with regulations. These stations included Radio Caracas Television (RCTV), a channel known for opposing the administration of Hugo Chávez. RCTV had already lost its ability to broadcast on a public channel in 2007, but remained available to cable subscribers […]

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CIA Factbook Draws Chavez's Ire

President Hugo Chávez is a fan of some books, and an opponent of others. In April of last year he made a very public presentation of Eduardo Galleano’s Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, gifting it to President Barack Obama at the Summit of the Americas. On the […]

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Iran and Venezuela Try to Balance the Books

How do you cope when your main source of political good will depends on money and that money dries up? Demand for oil just ain’t what it used to be. The shrinking of state revenues (regardless of the price of oil) is putting a cramp in the political and social largess of two countries — […]

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Venezuelan Government Blinks, Devaluing Currency

The Venezuelan government finally blinked when it came to financial pressures by devaluing its currency on January 8th. The rate of the Bolivar Fuerte had been pegged at 2.15 to the dollar and is now 2.6 for essential supplies and 4.3 for luxury goods. Last week the value of the dollar on the parallel market […]

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Former President Caldera Dies

Rafael Caldera, the last Venezuelan president to serve in office prior to the administration of Hugo Chávez, passed away on Thursday. Interestingly, Caldera’s terms seem to have book-ended the more democratic period of the country’s history. In 1946 Caldera founded COPEI, a Social-Christian political party. In 1958 he played an instrumental role in the Punto […]

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Santa Spotted in Venezuela?

On Monday, Hugo Chávez accused Colombia of using a US-manufactured spy plane to over-fly its airspace. Colombian officials denied not only that this happened, but stated that their military did not have such the required military technology. The retort from Bogotá via its Defense Minister, Gabriel Silva, included a little bit of humor: perhaps the […]

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Venezuela: Year in Review

Overview This past year was another interesting one for Venezuela, and it is a country where one never knows what will happen next. Overall, Chávez continued to advance his “Bolivarian revolution”. This effort included a number of laws passed by the National Assembly, a body that typically rubber stamps initiatives proposed by the Venezuelan president. […]

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Socialism and Energy

Socialism and energy have a peculiar relationship to each other.  In most countries, no matter who owns the surface land, the subsurface rights to the oil, gas, or (sometimes) minerals, belongs to the national government, and, in theory, the people of the country. The idea did not start with the 20th century: kings and rulers […]

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