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Tag Archives: Venezuela

What Will Chavez Say to the UN General Assembly?

With a meeting of global leaders at the United Nations General Assembly this week, one wonders what Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez will say. During his speech in 2006 he referred to US President George W. Bush as the devil. This time around, will he critique Barack Obama in the same way? In late March, after […]

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As War on Drugs Continues, So Too Does the Battle of Perceptions

Last week Venezuela’s Minister of the Interior, Tareck El Aissami, publicly denounced a July 20 report released by the US Government’s General Accounting Office (GAO) which labeled his country as “one of the major drug transit countries in the Western Hemisphere”. The struggle over public perception between Washington and Caracas continues. The US government states […]

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Opposition Leaders in Venezuela Seek Asylum

It remains possible to disagree with the Venezuelan government over its policies. It appears more difficult to do so within the country. Yesterday one more opposition leader sought asylum from what he considers oppression from the Chávez administration. Oscar Pérez, who is part of the Alianza Bravo Pueblo (ABP) party, is now charged by the […]

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Imports to Venezuela Plummet During First Half of 2009

El Universal reported that a decline in revenue from oil sales caused imports into Venezuela to drop by 49% during the first six months of 2009. Despite a recent increase the value of petroleum, Venezuela has experienced a sharp reduction in available funds since the price of a barrel of oil is just over $65, […]

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Venezuela Signs New Oil Contract with Russia, but Who Will Benefit?

Russian oil companies, including Gazprom and Lukoil, will pay $1 billion to Venezuela for the chance to develop oil reserves along the Orinoco. Even though Caracas and Moscow are allies, I still have doubts about the final payout for these businesses. In 2006 the Venezuelan government pushed out some foreign oil companies, and forced others […]

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Interpreting Alliances and Arms Sales

Yesterday, President Hugo Chávez continued his travels overseas, spending the day in Russia. During his time there he announced that Venezuela will recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. A brief war with between Russia and Georgia in August 2008 led to the separation of these two regions. More information is available in today’s […]

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Reality Check

I like it when things line up. Syzygy, they call it. What do Mongolia, Iraq, and Venezuela have in common? (Hint: it’s not oil.) It’s that they have all recently bumped into the sharp edge of resource reality. There is something about the discovery of  valuable resources that make people and countries take leave of […]

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Venezuelan Public Sector Now Employs One in Every Five Workers

When he first ran for office, Hugo Chávez declared that he wanted to reduce the size of government, and to make it more efficient. However, Venezuela’s National Institute of Statistics released figures showing that there are now 2,372,587 government workers, an increase of 70% during Chávez’s time in office. The percentage of all persons employed […]

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When the Police are the Problem

A recent story in The Guardian highlighted the ongoing abuses of police forces in Venezuela and the difficulties in bring about police reform.  Increasingly, police in Venezuela act with complete impunity and growing brutality against criminals, their families, and anyone else caught in between.  Stories of disappearances and false imprisonment by police, especially in Caracas, […]

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Venezuela: Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend

Venezuela: Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend

As the United States, Britain, Germany and France threaten Iran with sanctions over its nuclear program, Iran can at least count support from its loyal friend, Venezuela.  Al Jazeera quoted Chavez as stating, “We are certain that Iran, as it has shown, will not back down in its effort to obtain what is a sovereign […]

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Rallies Against Chavez Organized Worldwide

Today and tomorrow (September 4 and 5) there will be a series of marches in Venezuela, Colombia and throughout the world based on the theme of “No More Chávez”. El Universal, one of the independent newspapers in the Venezuelan capital, has a short blurb here. Two weeks ago a march against the new education reform […]

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Summit in Bariloche: Why Discuss US Military Presence in Colombia Now?

Today leaders met in Bariloche, Argentina, for a session of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR). Atop the agenda was discussion of the military agreement between Colombia and the United States, signed to maintain efforts against drug-trafficking and terrorism in the region. See this BBC Mundo article for a preview of the meeting. As […]

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The Politics of Chavez and Uribe: Distinct Ideologies, Similar Strategies?

President Alvaro Uribe recently moved one step closer to running for a third term in office. The Colombian Senate voted 56-2 last week to approve a plan for legal changes that would enable him to be reelected a second time. The process must now be approved by the House of Representatives and pass a nationwide […]

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Is Chavez's Influence in Decline? (and Lessons for US Policy with Potential Adversaries)

In an editorial within today’s Washington Post, Edward Schumacher-Matos presents a nice summary of what might be considered a waning in the power of Venezuelan President, Hugo Chávez. As Schumacher-Matos describes, on a number of fronts other South American nations have been acting counter to Chávez’s wishes. Ecuador, though considered an ally, has reached out […]

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Golfing in Venezuela: Chavez May Close Down the “Bourgeois” Links

Golf in Venezuela has again come under pressure after President Hugo Chávez recently labeled it “a bourgeois sport”. The links are considered by the President, and his supporters, to be the playing fields of the wealthy and elite. An article in the New York Times further describes the situation. Interestingly, it appears that some of […]

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