Unhappy 11th


Yup, Caracas Chronicles is 11 years old today.

Can’t say I’m in much of a mood for celebrating, though. The country is honestly more screwed up now than my imagination could conceive back in September 2002. The government has proven more coherent and less fractious, even in Chávez’s absence, than I ever thought possible. And the drowning of our democratic heritage in the bathtub has been carried out so expertly, the neighbours barely heard a sound.

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  1. Ironically a strong opposition may have saved Chavizmo from fatal fractionalization. They knew they had a strong enemy they couldn’t beat unless they were united. So they stayed united, for now. Eventually the money will run out and all hell will break loose, but it may not yet be that time. Soon, hopefully. The legislative elections are the last hope Venezuela has to reestablish democracy. I’m not keeping my hopes up though. A strong showing, winning of 80% of votes or somesuch, would result in an opposition victory and eventual destruction of Chavizmo. Chances for that to happen are slim to nonexistent, I realize that.

  2. Because Venezuela lives under a regime which to uphold its power methodically drowns the media in lies , drenching the world with deceits and misinformation , hiding its foibles and crimes , sugar coating its abuses , there is a need for chronicles in which news and information are examined with honesty and exposed with journalistic directness , this is one such chronicle, it serves an important purpose . It is not a merry chronicle (although there are sometimes merry moments as we all laught together at the absurdity of the regimes actions ) , mostly there is a sense of ravaged indignation at what the regime does and many moments of insight and illumination where we the examination of the news allows us to go deeper into our collective psyche and into the realities of Venezuelas conditions. Kudos and thanks to Francisco and Nagel and all others for founding this blog and for keeping it running .

  3. I think Bill B. has stated the case excellently; we would all be much the poorer without CC, and everyone involved with it has performed a huge service to all Venezuela. Next year in Jerusalem!

  4. Hey, you are not celebrating 11 years of chavista decay and of gloom-and-doom predictions by CC … or well, yes, incidentally maybe you are. But CC is remarkable for being the antithesis of what it has probed with its incisive journalistic scalpel 🙂

    CC would be a different beast under different conditions, who’s to say it wouldn’t. That’s not the point though. It’s been an invaluable service to all involved. A toast to you…

  5. Kudos to you, Quico, as well as to Juan, Gustavo and Emiliana for all the work you do to keep the world informed about the lows and highs (unfortunately more of the former than the latter) of Venezuela.

    You all perform a valuable service to anyone that wants to know more than what appears in the press.

    Moreso now as self censorship and poor reporting grow in the local press.

    Here’s hoping the next 11 years of blogging are more about triumphs and successes in Venezuela, more stories about growth and attaining the gold ring for our country!

    And also I would be remiss not to thank all the commenters that contribute to a lively discussion and that always seem to add more depth and information than can be expected.

    It’s a real treat to have this blog to come to!!!

  6. and you were saying that maduro was starting to get boring, I’m sure that -unlike more edible products- there have been no shortage of news lately.

    I’ve been reading you for about 6 month now and I’d like to congratulate you on the work you have done documenting the venezuelan situation I think insightfully and with quality, I’m sure it will be even more valuable in a distant and hopefully merrier future.

    The fact that the blog is in english have greatly reduced the impact it may have on the venezuelan or even latin american public opinion, but it has given the blog some sense of little town feeling (en que todos se conocen) to the comment section, and have also filtered down the number of chavists trolls that come here to talk us about the “great” space program of venezuela.

    • Well said.

      On the highly amusing front, did anyone else follow Maduro’s blowup over – for a few hours – not getting overflight approval for US airspace*? Within an hour Evo was demanding every single south american country expel US ambassadors!

      What a bunch of drama queens.

      *The US says the request was incorrect but nonetheless granted within hours.

      • Maduro threatened to take measures against the US. I wish he had done that. It would have been something like “OK, now my family won’t go more than once a year to Florida!”

  7. Even though we might pick on Quico & JC every once in a while, this is still in our top blog list. And GEHA + Emiliana have been breaths of fresh air! Waz up with Emiliana lately?

  8. Y’all are my tonic of the day, a way to reconnect with the country and its politics, of deep historical significance for me and my family.

    So thank you, Quico, for founding this online tertulia. Thank you, too, for retaining the clean format, contributing to a calm oasis amid the political turmoil.

    I thank Juan for adding, from early on, his economic perspective, GEHA for his on-the-ground reportage, and Emiliana for her optics on the ever-evolving lunacy — all very welcomed reading.

    And to all commenters, my gratitude for the spice, what makes this blog come ALIVE. (Don’t you dare cut us out, Quico!)

    kiss, kiss.

  9. As mentioned, the community feel is one of the high points of the blog. Shared memories of a Caracas that no longer exists is a bittersweet experience. Whenever my 38-year-old Caracas-born daughter waxes nostalgic and says she’d like to introduce her husband and daughter to her birthplace, Escuela Campo Alegre, the beauty of the playas and the Avila, I whip out a Chronicle or show her The New Yorker article on the “pran” situation. Thank you for keeping us together, in agreement or in disagreement.

  10. Wow!! As usual, the Commenters here have said it all, in a well-deserved congratulatory fashion. Please keep up your excellent work, chronicling the coherency of the incoherency of this “Ripley’s Believe-It-Or-Not” Venezuelan Government/situation!

  11. Congratulations, and thank you for providing us with a space to see Venezuela differently, to learn and most importantly, to debate and talk freely about it.

  12. Thank you all! I have been reading for at least 7 years and you are the tonic of my day too! This along with Miguel Octavio’s blog is my way of staying informed and knowing what my cousins are facing in Maracay. So please keep up the good work!

  13. Congratulations Quico and company: Juan, Gustavo and Emiliana, in order of appearance on the scene.

    This site is a wonderful discovery for anyone wanting to follow what is going on in Venezuela from a “modern” perspective. It is a font of insights in a lake of, um, excrement and sacrificed animal carcasses. That kind of thing. As is the commentary from your valiant countrypersons and many others who for love, money, access to a beach, or just plain accident, ended up closely connected to this unfolding… situation. I salute you all.

  14. STANDING OVATION for @CaracasChronicles!!! You guys have kept me company, have informed, have made me laugh and cry… Although I do not always comment, I do always read you… Thanks thanks thanks for all your hard work. Keep it up, please! I still live in Hugozuela – Carakistan, and you give a different and valid perspective…
    Esta noche me tomo un whisky por ustedes!

  15. Congratulations guys!

    But don’t despair. This blog outlived Chavez and will outlive Chavismo too, at least in its Diosduro version. Whether it outlives the all-pervasive clientelismo, that one is harder.

    Keep up the great work.

  16. I just want to say thank you for all the kind words of appreciation. As someone who was first a reader and then got the chance of being part of CC, I’m grateful of being part of this blog’s history. As times over here are getting tougher, I know it’s not easy task, but the commitment to keep doing the best job possible remains unchanged. Thanks, Quico, JC and Emi. And thanks to all CC readers (frequent or casual). Happy birthday, Caracas Chronicles.

  17. CC is the best place to keep updated on Venezuela politics. Thanks to everyone involved.

    OT- Maduro is having a hissy fit because he could not get immediate permission to overfly Puerto Rico on his way to China. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-24173124
    1. How hard is it to fly around Puerto Rico? It is a small island.
    2. China is west of Venezuela. Puerto Rico is north of Venezuela. Is a Cuban navigating or what?
    3. Rules say 3 days notice and for official state airplanes- Maduro gave 1 day notice on commercial plane.
    4. He got permission.
    5. With all of Venezuela’s problems, Maduro created a fake problem and act like he is taking strong action.
    6. Maduro is a sick puppy.

    • …they need to provoke the USA and this is just another step. Maduro and Co. are even more fucked up than Chavez and the only way they can win/convince the doubting and deserting Chavistas is by having the USA invade!

  18. You were not happy with David Frum’s advice/prognosis but he was right that your approach is right. Keeping documenting, keep skewering, keep the faith. Never give up. Thank you.

  19. Congratulations Guys! This site has been a refuge from the shallowness and usual hack work of most political analysis in Venezuela (with its very honorable exceptions).

    I completely identify with the feeling of losing hope, not only about what’s going to happen in the future, but for all the time we’ve lost. For all effects, in Venezuela is still 1989.

    But, somehow ,the idea that people like you guys are still trying to make sense of this disaster is a small silver lining.

  20. I have come to this blog mainly for my own curiosity ; the curiosity to see how different types of Venezuelans feel and think about the changes that have revealed themselves over the past 15 years.Normally our perceptions of a country are largely formed by the ” like attracts like ” principle.We tend to surround ourselves by those who share meaning, hobby, age, or philosophy.But on a blog that gathers folks from all walks of life,we can better access the many windows on other realities that exist on the different levels that create a larger and more complicated view – the view that refelcts cultural and ethnic diversity.

    One thing most of us share:

    Just as something was lost when we went from Epic Poems to video games, modern Venezuela does not reflect progress for too many of us here.Maybe the reasons for feeling this way vary, but our main quest is the same.

    In the age of the digital shelf life, writers will find that their work will live on long after they are gone. With enough time, opinions formed in a moment of revelation will either be vindicated by history or nullified by it.

    An effort well worth the time, and thought whatever the outcome.

  21. I can only say that whatever lasts more than 10 years in our country is something to be reckoned with. And, how long are internet years?

    You guys have sustained and improved upon a great endeavour, and have kept us abreast of the best of the Venezuelan blogosphere through the best Venezuelan blog.

    Never despair…

  22. Kudos! Stay the course. Some day (I hope!) there will be a screenplay and a Hollywood film that tells your story! In the meantime, I can only imagine what an adventure and a huge commitment that you all have persevered through. Was it worth it? Absolutely!!!!!!

  23. One more small contribution…this blog, including many of the folks who comment regularly, has become like one of those old friends who have been so long in your life that you can no longer remember when they became part of it , let alone imagine life without them!!! Never give up 4 mosqueteers, for the pen – albeit the virtual one -is mightier than the sword!!! Que Dios se los pague… 🙂

  24. “…the drowning of our democratic heritage in the bathtub has been carried out so expertly, the neighbours barely heard a sound.” This phrase has been in my mind all day long, breath taking to see it that way.

    Superb video. Congrats for the aniversary!

  25. Well, there’s not too much more to add here. Quico, you and JC, then GEHA and Emiliana, have pulled off quite an amazing accomplishment: you’re still here, after all these years :-)! Congratulations, and keep on keepin’ on!

  26. Though I often disagree with many of the posts on CC, I do want to give kudos to Quico et al for allowing posters with different opinions to post. Cheers on the 11th anniversary of your blog. Que cumplan muchos más!

  27. Congratulations and keep it up!
    I found you guys by chance about 5 years ago and have been reading your posts since. Very good posts, good commentators and great information shared here.
    I wonder how the posts in CC will be when Chavismo is out of power and we recover democracy in Venezuela(let dream a bit)? Will you post about the opportunities will open en la patria querida for the Venezuelans?


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