GEHA’s Best of 2017, Part III (September-December)

For the final part of my 2017 digest, we watch as the Constituyente enforces its power, as the political opposition shoots itself in the foot and as we enter full-blown economic catastrophe.

Photo: Gabriel Méndez

Here you have it: 2017 was a very tough year for Venezuela, but we hope that here, at Caracas Chronicles we made good on our promise of making sense of it all. 2018 looks even tougher, but we’re ready to keep working, rain or shine!

Special Mention for all of 2017: Our #HowToHelp series features worthy charities verified by our team that will be grateful for your generosity during these terrible times of need.


Special Mention: All articles regarding the opposition primaries and Chavista candidacies for State Governor elections – Lacava’s official CC debut!

As protests fade away and we enter a reluctant electoral mood, September begins with proof that we reached administrative rock bottom: our government wants us to make our very own Drivers’ Licenses. It would be funny if it wasn’t sad. Somehow related, here’s an eye-opening tutorial on how NOT to attract foreign investors. Also in the funny-but-sad category: The fact that our shitty fake skier makes a second appearance in this roundup, this time featuring senior citizen assault.

What’s no laughing matter is the struggle many Venezuelan mothers endure to vaccinate their children and, in Panama, the massive arrival of fellow countrymen that has caused mockery and even hostility from the locals.

National Assembly Deputy Gilber Caro was arrested for alleged treason, despite having immunity. Desperation forced him to sew his lips shut. On the other side of the political scene, we see the rise of Hector Rodriguez inside chavismo.

With cash being hard to find, virtual alternatives are no longer an option, but a necessity. those who have made off with bundles of cash don’t have this problem, but suffer the social consequences of being corrupt.

For Access to Information Day, we can confirm that we’re really far behind about public accountability and government transparency.

To end the month, a dumb joke that fell flat on a radio show produces a loud (and fake) outrage.


Special Mention: World Premiere: In the Shadow of the Revolution.

The impromptu election for State Governors is just around the corner and we go to Mérida State to meet a curious and quite shady independent candidate. Also in Mérida, we find a group of ULA students who refuse to give up their dream of reaching the stars.

How many Venezuelans are living abroad? Can we reach an estimate? And Caracas Chronicles gets an exclusive interview with Julio Borges, AN’s current speaker.

The October 15th election finally takes place and it’s quite a rollercoaster. We do our best to make sense of what happened, with the CLAP and MUD’s expectations and, of course, the role of the chavista main electoral board members.

Elections aside, our tragic reality keeps shouting with the rise of extrajudicial killings and mothers dying at childbirth.


Very Special Mention: The entire and amazing coverage of PDVSA’s debt catastrophe by our Econ Nerds Team: Anabella Abadi, Carlos Hernandez, Claudio’s Rodríguez, Daniel Urdaneta, Frank Muci, Pedro Rosas, José Ramon Morales & Javier Ruiz.

Let’s make it clear: The MUD coalition keeps on making the same mistakes because it refuses to make itself accountable. Thanks to that, oppression is the new normal. And while politicians await for the perfect timing, malnourished children get normalized.

Lately, Venezuela has turned into a hot issue for the Spanish political landscape and here, at home, the ANC passes the controversial Anti-hate Law. Inside our universities, censorship and repression are already the norm.

As PDVSA faces reckoning from years of mismanagement, and Trieste to scrape the bottom of the barrel to make its payments to bond holders, the choice of its new head prove that things are actually way worse. Meanwhile, a trifecta of diseases are huge threats to our public health.

A new round of negotiations between the government and the opposition in Santo Domingo are subject of debate, so we ask: what’s more relevant, politics or morals? But the presence of a well-known economist as part of the MUD’s delegation offers a bright shard of hope.


Special Mention: The rest of the #VenezuelaEnergetica Special

The last stretch of the year begins with World AIDS Day, so we present three different stories of what it means to be seropositive in today’s Venezuela.

It was a matter of time, Rafael Ramirez finally went down. The once-powerful oil czar and self-declared good life aficionado left his UN ambassadorship, right in the middle of a major shakedown inside PDVSA.

In many households, the last time they ate chicken, meat, fish or pork is a distant memory, but the future seems to be more frightening with the arrival of hyperinflation.

On December 10th, ANC-mandated elections for mayors were held, a controlled spectacle like bullfighting. But for the PSUV machinery, they improved their electoral blackmail operation. And in places like Guarenas, people have no options.

In the Maternity Hospital of Ejido (Merida State) we found an old pharmaceutical guide signed by the Comandante Eterno himself. Ironic, since many of the medicines included can’t be found today.

Remember the Narcosobrinos? They were sentenced to 18 years with no parole, but how did they avoid a life sentence?

Last but not least: Leopoldo López actually wrote a book while imprisoned in Ramo Verde. Venezuela Energética is filled with interesting ideas about our relationship with petroleum, and getting the drafts out of prison is an epic in itself.