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Tag Archives: Venezuela

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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Chavez and the Jews

At a party last year, an acquaintance asked me why Hugo Chavez, the President of Venezuela, was so anti-Israel. How were Israel and Jews a threat to him? Since Chavez has been president, anti-Semitic behavior in Venezuela (not known as a hotbed of anti-Semitism) has increased noticeably with attacks on synagogues and against the tiny […]

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Blackouts in Venezuela – What Gives?

How is it that Venezuela, awash in energy resources, experiences blackouts? Although it is a global leader in oil production, most of the country’s power comes from hydroelectric dams, including one of the word’s largest, Guri. Unfortunately a combination of drought and failing infrastructure has severely reduced capacity for power-generation. A NYT article gives a […]

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Wag the Dog? Venezuelan Troops to the Border, Again

The Venezuelan government is, once again, moving soldiers to the border region with Colombia. The 15,000 troops are intended to “increase security, combat drug trafficking and root out paramilitary groups”. It seems like déjà vu, as Chávez sent 6,000 soldiers there in March 2008, after Raul Reyes of the FARC was killed on Ecuadorian territory. […]

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Who Dunnit Along the Venezuelan-Colombian Border

The kidnapping and murder of at least nine Colombians along Venezuela’s border region during late October once again increased tensions between the two countries, which are already on shaky diplomatic terms. An article within El Universal gives a nice overview of recent political exchanges between Caracas and Bogotá. The Venezuelan vice president, Ramón Carrizález, declared […]

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Colombian Migrants Massacred in Venezuela

The latest body of a Colombian migrant – now the eleventh – was recently found along the border region of Venezuela. The victim had been playing pick-up soccer when kidnapped two weeks ago. Who would massacre these Colombians, and to what end? It may be an extreme sign of anti-immigrant sentiment within Venezuela; Colombians make […]

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Murder of Colombians May Heighten Tensions Along Border

Another body of a Colombian migrant – now the eleventh – was recently found along the border region of Venezuela. The victim had been playing pick-up soccer when kidnapped two weeks ago. The Colombian and Venezuelan governments have each traded accusations related to the incident, leading to increased tensions. Who would massacre these Colombians, and […]

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