Photo: AFP/Getty Images, retrieved

The WhatsApp message is terrifying. It warns that the Venezuelan government made a bloody covenant with a family of voodoo spirits worshipped in Haiti, to issue a new cryptocurrency, the Petro. It darkly claims the new crypto isn’t really named after oil, but for a clan of evil “loas” — voodoo spirits.

It’s easy to laugh but, to pious Venezuelans, the message provokes terror and anxiety. To me, a Haitian sociologist (que vivió varios años en la Tierra de Gracia), it was notable more for the way it shifted stereotypical representations of Haitians as poor people in need of rescue to a discourse in which Haitians are voodoo devils out to destroy the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

People have long turned to magic to make sense of the unfortunate situations they face, and Venezuelans have been doing it for years. Santería, another form of magic (which has some roots in common with our voodoo) is now as Venezuelan as a papelón con limón. Yet the association of Haiti with the Petro can profoundly impact the perception of Haitians residing in Venezuela, as well as the friendly relations Venezuela has had with my country for the last two decades.

Honestly, I smiled when I read the prayer chain in which some Venezuelans implore Jesus-Christ, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to destroy any evil associated with that perfidious Haitian voodoo spirit. Digging around a little, I found no one currently living in Haiti has heard of any voodoo priest or spirit named Petro. He is, at best, a secondary spirit, far less recognized than the big voodoo spirits such as Erzulie, Papa Legba, Freda or Damballa. He may be an outright fake.

The Petro dance celebrates the union of the slaves in their fight for independence against imperialist France. How Bolivarian is that?

We do have a “petro” in Haiti, but it has nothing to do with the common representation of voodoo, much less with cryptocurrencies; it’s a drum used for traditional music and dance. The Petro dance was created in Haiti around the time of the War of Independence, to unite the slaves in a fierce and clandestine fight that lasted 13 years, a fire dance often practised during our Carnival, which doubles as the biggest music and dance festival in Haiti. The Petro dance celebrates the union of the slaves in their fight for independence against imperialist France. How Bolivarian is that?

During the French colonization of Haiti, slaves didn’t have the right to meet or organize themselves as a community. The only way they could do so was through clandestine voodoo ceremonies in which they reunited to invoke African spirits — called “loas” — to ask them to free them from the brutal treatment of their French masters.

It was at one of these ceremonies, at Bois Caïman, where the first major slave insurrection of the Haitian Revolution was planned. On the night of August 14, 1791, representative slaves from nearby plantations gathered to participate in a secret ceremony conducted in the woods by Le Cap in the French colony of Saint Domingue. Presided over by Dutty Boukman, a prominent slave leader and voodoo priest, the ceremony served as both a religious ritual and strategic meeting as conspirators met and planned a revolt. It was the opening salvo in the long and bloody struggle that brought us independence in 1804.

I was born and raised in Cap-Haitien, which is near Bois Caïman in the North of Haïti. Later, I studied at the Central University of Venezuela and worked at l’Alliance Française de Caracas in Venezuela from 2009 to 2013. I know first hand the deep fear that the invocation of voodoo evils can provoke and especially I empathize with the fear a battered and traumatized Venezuelan must feel reading about these evil spirits behind the new crypto.

Growing up in Haiti, I’d hear people talking negatively about voodoo in their everyday conversations all the time. I was raised in a Protestant family where I accompanied my parents and siblings to church every Sunday. The very invocation of the word “voodoo” could cause terror in me. It’s not that I believed in its power to hurt people, or the supposed violent energy associated with it. In my mind, voodoo meant darkness and terrifying villains — the monster under your bed keeping you up at night.

Voodoo provided the one place where some of the world’s most viciously brutalized people could gather together in community

But then, every culture has a thing like that, doesn’t it?

As I became a teenager, and was better educated, the fear abated. The more I learned about the War of Independence of Haiti, the more I understood the role of voodoo in our history as the first independent black republic that fought and won the war against French.

Voodoo provided the one place where some of the world’s most viciously brutalized people could gather together in community. There’s beauty in that.

Voodoo ceremonies were also a site to pray and cultivate the faith that a better future was possible. This faith strengthened their conviction to plan the war against the French. This is the version of the history of voodoo that Haitian children have learned in school for more than two centuries.

But, the coming of Christian missionaries sapped Haiti’s proud voodoo heritage, recasting it as an evil practice against God. That’s the version making the rounds in those WhatsApp chain messages: voodoo as a form of devil worship that good Christians must keep away from. This is where voodoo’s association with darkness comes from: it’s black magic. An extraordinary coincidence, that choice of words, isn’t it? What’s the other “black” thing you think of when you think about Haiti?

Whenever I introduced myself as a Haitian to Venezuelans, there were always questions about voodoo. I could never really answer properly: I was a Christian kid, I had never been to a voodoo ceremony. Some persistent friends thought I was hiding something, that I didn’t want to spill my secrets and it took them a while to realize I really was clueless. Yes, voodoo is a real practice in Haiti and a core element of Haitian national identity. But no, we don’t all do it. And yet, it’s also faked by some charlatan practitioners to earn money out of people’s problems and anxiety.

It is relatively easy for other nations like Venezuela to believe that anything related to voodoo is evil, which explains also their fear of the new cryptocurrency.

Yes, voodoo, seen as black magic. It can terrify anyone including Venezuelans who might think about evil spirits while using the new cryptocurrency. However, the fear associated with P’tit Jean Petro behind the new crypto in Venezuela is more the fear of the unknown than the certainty that this evil spirit will actually destroy Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

Since voodoo is portrayed as terrifying black magic practiced by Haitians, people tend to automatically associate voodoo with any negative thing that happens to Haiti such as the 2010 earthquake or the last hurricanes. Religious people commonly say that negative things happen to Haiti because of voodoo, which is irrational, untrue and somehow racist. In this sense, it is relatively easy for other nations like Venezuela to believe that anything related to voodoo is evil, which explains also their fear of the new cryptocurrency.

So you should pay special attention to the origin of these messages, try to understand the intention behind them by wondering: is the intention of this thread about Haitian voodoo Petro to scare Venezuelans and/or to portray all Haitians as black devils? Who does this representation of Haitians as evil black people benefit the most? Is it true that the name “Petro” is purposely given to the new cryptocurrency as a confirmation of the alliance made by the Maduro government in Venezuela with evil spirits?

To what extent does the belief in those unchecked facts distract the Venezuela people from focusing on the severe socio-economic and political problems that Venezuela and its people are currently facing?

69 COMMENTS

  1. I think these whatsapp messages are, unfortunately, fake news made by the opposition.
    Remember last year the massacre in some provincial town that never happened? Fake news.
    The lights of the Feria de Teatro de Caracas that where supposed to be coming from some defense system in Miraflores? Fake news.

  2. “Is it true that the name “Petro” is purposely given to the new cryptocurrency as a confirmation of the alliance made by the Maduro government in Venezuela with evil spirits?”

    I wouldn’t put it past this lot of Vampires in CCS. Tibisay et al were the ones who opened the tomb of Simon Bolivar. There is a great youtube video of a Cuban voodoo doctor who warned of this. I would not have any doubts that high Chavistas are into this stuff.

    La Maldicion de Bolivar

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfED-mpoGmQ

    At mimimum, I hope the Evangelical community and all Christians in general should see the Carnet de Patria as well as El Petro as “the Mark of the Beast.” The religious community does have a role to play in this spiritual struggle against Chavismo.

  3. As a trained Anthropologist, I can help but notice that the writer while trying to dispel SOME of the stupidity associated with the misconceptions about Vodoo and other Afro-Caribbean religions such as Santeria and Espiritismo; can’t quite escape his own bias in the portrayal of Vodoo as a negative, diabolical and somehow abhorrent practice. Vodoo is a set of religious beliefs just as established as Christianity and it possesses an good and evil dichotomy just like we do in the “Christian” world (God vs. Satan). The main difference is that the Gods in the pantheon or Voodoo and other Afro religions exhibit human qualities such as vanity, anger and jealousy which different deities embody differently. Vodoo has been victim is misrepresentation first by the Colonizing powers, then by the Haitian elites that have always claimed to be “whiter” and therefore more Christians than the rest. Finally, erratic representations of the religion in Hollywood films have added further stigma to this religion characterizing it as devil worship and a curse-driven / revenge-seeking mystical buffoonery. Sadly, this post tries to deny the root of the ignorance associated with the fear-mongering Vodoo has ALWAYS received in Venezuela, yet it perpetuates it.

    • I disagree with that. The post describes negative perceptions about Voodoo and how those are used to manipulate people. I don’t see a single statement in the post that indicates the author takes these negative perceptions at face value.

      In any event, what anthropologist in this day in age can claim that they have escaped their own bias? I thought that notion was left behind by this field of study at the beginning of the last century.

      You make some good points about voodoo generally, but I don’t think they apply to this author. I welcome the insights from Messr. Charles.

      And what about this story: a fake voodoo spell cast on a crypto-currency invented by self-described socialists. We know things are really bad when…

      • No Anthropology can ever claim to leave their bias behind, as we are all “cultural beings”. However, when observing a subject matter, we are trained to see it through the lens of “Cultural Relativity” which is part of Anthropological Theory 101. My problem with this piece though, and that it infers that Voodoo as a belief system is inferior that Christianity : “Voodoo provided the one place where some of the world’s most viciously brutalized people could gather together in community. There’s beauty in that.” is like when they tell you that you are handsome for a black man. You are still low in the totem poll. Haitians have acquired and internalized Colonial structures of power that repel anything to do with their African roots and embrace the European mindset and lifestyle as “better” or “advance”; hence the elites’ rejection of voodoo and obsession with light skin.

        • Hi Harrison, I have a bullshit social science degree as well and now a I run a restaurant.

          Nevertheless, in this case some “fake news” can be some good news. In academic terms: “strategic essentialism”. I like this article because we need all the help we can get–including religious people– and the academic left are completely worthless other than publishing articles that only collect dust and producing social justice warrior students who only prop up regimes like we have in Venezeula.

          Like Oscar Perez said: this is a battle between a system of valores contra anti-valores and otherwise an AFFIRMATION OF MIDDLE CLASS VALUES NOT STREET VALUES!!!

          We do not need street values of Santamaria/Santamalandro that glamorizes the is false Robin Hood narrative of robbing from the rich and giving to the poor.

          Please Harrison, do your homework first before trying to overintellectualize what is really going on here in Venezeula.

          I used to be a leftist duchebag, never listened to my parents and listened to my professors instead…now look at the disaster here.

          As far as I am concerned, street values can be flushed down the toilet because we see where the lead to.

          Please research SANTAMALANDRO before you give us any academic bullshit.

    • f*&K Cultural Relatavism. I have been held up 3 times at gun point. One time being beat over the head with a gun and barely escaping with my life. F*#k STREET VALUES AND THE CULTURE OF THE MALANDROS. They deserve to be an underclass and held in check by a regime that values law and order and upholding middle class values. If you have lived in Venezuela long enough, and have been robbed at gunpoint a few times, you would not believe any of this anthropological bullshit.

      This whole concept of robbing “rich people” to help out the poor is complete BULLSHIT!! They rob rich people to help out themselves buy more drugs, whiskey and putas.

  4. “The WhatsApp message is terrifying” – No, it’s not.

    “It’s easy to laugh” – Yes, it is.

    “people tend to automatically associate voodoo with any negative thing that happens to Haiti” – Which people? Haitians? Canadians?

    “So you should pay special attention to the origin of these messages” – Sorry, but no.

    “Who does this representation of Haitians as evil black people benefit the most?” – Get Oliver Stone on the job.

    Petroleum + Crypto = Petro. The name is slightly clever, even if the petro is not. But, a deep dark sinister racist conspiracy makes for a better narrative, I guess.

  5. Why not give voodoo a shot? The long term arrangement with the Pope has provided bugger all.
    Imagine how much of Venezuela’s wealth has been removed by the Catholic Church and Rome’s socialist Latino on the throne of St. Peter sits on his hands. Maybe someone should tell him that starving babies, not providing them with essential medicines, etc., is simply a form of very late term abortion.

    • Maybe the solution to the crisis is part Voodoo, part santeria and babalio (sp) and catholicism mixed in… throw in some creole and cervezas.. whatever to avoid the miserable reality they voted for.. surely something will save them. Bueh..

      No disrespect to CHC as I learned fron his post.. but the Petro is unconstitutional and illegal and will,fail as everything chavismo toiches. This post just makes it seem more palatable since it is not evil.. wtf?

  6. “This is where voodoo’s association with darkness comes from: it’s black magic. An extraordinary coincidence, that choice of words, isn’t it? What’s the other “black” thing you think of when you think about Haiti?”

    Well, you had me until you dealt the Victim card.

    Thanks for the bit of fiction

    • These days, anybody that is associated with a university or news media is compelled to weave the narrative in each and every communication. An article on cherry blossoms will for sure mention climate change caused by white supremacy misogynist patriarchy by the second paragraph. If you don’t care one way or the other about net neutrality, you are worse than Hitler.

      • Yeap…education gives you the tools to connect the dots. The “narrative” isn’t “weaved in”…it is always there. Things don’t exist in a vacuum. Recognizing structures or narratives of power is far from victimhood…it is actually the first step towards liberation. Plus, if you are not one affected by these power structures…when you are in fact benefiting from them; that makes your opinion or take not as notable.

        • “…it is actually the first step towards liberation”

          And there it is. At least we didn’t have to dig around in it, looking for nuance.

          The elitist left can’t help it, I guess… everyone (besides them) is mentally enslaved and bereft of insight, BUT if we are fortunate enough to have them as our guides, someday… enlightenment and liberation!

          • It’s a long-standing theme among the “social scientists” that they have this special knowledge that the non-“social scientist” doofuses don’t have. At the same time, the narrative of what the special knowledge consists of keeps switching. Just like the change from 2 genders to 57 genders. It’s not like the narratives of differential and integral calculus or of kinetic energy, which have been rather consistent for decades and even centuries.

            Social science is to science as wonder bread is to french bread.

          • These were obviously my personal observations based on a my set of beliefs granted to me via education and experience…but you are entitled to your worldview as well obviously. I am not a fan of proselytism, however; never expect me to make a white man’s version of the world my own either. There is no bigger not abhorrent elitism than that of the white man’s.

  7. I can’t believe the heavy thinkers posting here missed the fact that petroleum is “black”. Black voodoo, black Haiti, black magic, black people, and black petroleum! They all come together with the Petro and in a manner that is designed to preserve white privilege.

    If you don’t get it, it’s because you are biased.

    • “I can’t believe the heavy thinkers posting here missed the fact that petroleum is “black”.!

      Actually, petroluem comes in many colors, like the beautiful mosaic of peoplekind.

  8. Carlo Handy Charles

    I apologize for what has become of what was once your very well meaning piece on the Petro. I actually learned a lot about Haiti and its history with spirituality. Unfortunately, when any writer weaves into their tome the thread of political victim-hood, the wheels are going to come off any well intentioned piece.

    I expect, however, that is the nature of the beast in the Social “Sciences”. I remember my Sociology teacher from college telling us on the first day of class, that Sociology has an inherent “thoughtful” perspective attached to it, and his perspective was very thoughtfully left. (I think that he actually attached a series of names to his worldview, but the one I could remember was Marx)

  9. It’s very interesting but I am struggling with its relevance to Venezuela. Is the relevance that one whatsapp message mentioned that the new Petro is the result of a covenant thru voodoo and that is a sign of disrespect to Haiti and its voodoo adherents. A quick check on Wikipedia states that about half of Haitians practice voodoo but nearly all who do so are Christians so there is cultural linkage between Haitian voodoousts and Venezuelans. I have more interesting concerns about Haiti. The Clintons raised hundreds of millions of dollars for Haiti and there is little or nothing to show for it. Who ended up with our donations? Perhaps Haitian voodooists might invoke some evil loas to deal with the Clintons and their crooked friends. Now…back to Venezuela

      • MRubio
        How are things going with getting your packages to you and your people?
        This past week I have been distracted and I asked Vicky to let me know when you had them.
        She has been preoccupied with a very sick son. It appears the antibiotics came in handy.
        Gotta keep the dogs happy!

        • John, the packages are scheduled for pick up at Vicky’s on Thursday.

          They discussed trying to pick them up this past week, but with Carnaval stretching from last week until today, there are checkpoints everywhere, everything’s a bigger hassle than normal, so my stepson and Vicky decided to wait until Thursday.

          With luck I’ll have them in hand for Friday or Saturday.

          Thanks again for everything John. My dogs will be very very happy as will some of the locals waiting on those seeds.

  10. China has just announced that it will prohibit any crypto currency transaction within its system , because of the attendant harm it can cause …this ,while in Venezuela they are promoting the use of a new Crypto currency , the Petro ……..the message is clear, the Chinese, presumed endorsers of the Venezuelan regime are totally at odds with its methods of economic governance ……!! Understand that in meerings between high Chinese officials and local regime representatives on money issues the language those officials use to describe the regimes economic measures is sometimes extremely harsh……, they have given up on the regimes capacity to weather the storm it has itself created !!, they just want to see how much of their investment they can ultimately recover but are wary of putting any more money in to the famtomless abyss of venezuelas ruined public finances …….at most they will put some ear tagged money into those oil projects in which they already have a direct interest !! Not a cent more.!!

    • I would pay a hundred bucks to see a video of the Venezuelan and Chinese translators talking to each other at official meetings.

      It has to be hysterical.

    • I think you are spot on, Bill. And, on the other hand, I frequently drive round trip Boston-Ohio, and am struck by the increasing number of Chinese businessmen/women at the hotels.

      Just say’n.

  11. My woman tells me earlier after scanning the news, that one of the head honchos who lead the execution team against Oscar Perez was gunned down tonight while filling up his vehicle. She further said that a group supposedly affiliated with Perez have claimed that they were responsible for the burning of yachts in Margarita a few days ago (mentioned by one of our posters here), claiming that those boats were property of alta-chavistas like Godgiven Hair. They further claim this is just the beginning.

    I have no idea of the validity of these claims. Hopefully Naky will be back tomorrow and can give us some updates on some of these stories.

    • I’m getting the idea that everyone knows who is who and who did what down in Venezuela. You will know any minute now if this is true, since Hair will lash out (so to speak).

      • AG, back in the States I never knew who some of my neighbors were. Wouldn’t even have known their faces much less their names. Here, everyone knows everybody’s business. It’s amazing. The entire country is like living in a single small rural county back in the States.

        I talked to a guy the other day looking for bales of bermuda for his horses. I asked how he ended up here and he said a guy from Caracas told him I had the best bales in the business. Caracas! I don’t even know anyone who lives in Caracas.

  12. Trump admin goes CLAP!!!

    “President Trump’s new budget would severely restrict the kinds of foods that food stamp recipients could buy with the government assistance.

    Recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — SNAP — receive a monthly supplement that offers help purchasing food.

    But Trump’s proposal would require people who receive at least $90 a month from the program to get about half of their benefits in the form of a “USDA food package,” rather than by purchasing the food themselves, NPR reported.

    The proposed change would affect more than 80 percent of people enrolled in SNAP.

    The packages recipients would be given would not include fresh fruits or vegetables. Instead, according to NPR, the packages would consist of “shelf-stable milk, ready to eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans and canned fruit and vegetables.””

    http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/373507-trump-proposes-restricting-choices-for-food-stamp-recipients

    • Wholly Shit!!!! WOOOOOWWW Awesome to bring that up MRubio! The Gringo Clap hahahaha!!! Nevertheless, in Gringolandia they cannot be bachequeros with that shit. Some hood rat or white trash selling generic brand peanut butter wont even be able to buy a rock of crack with the earnings.

      As far as the resistencia in Margarita, I have been hearing those rumors as well. Only thing is that the fishermen are pissed as f*&king hell now because they are getting busted for selling their fish and gas black market in Trinidad while the GNB controls all the black market trade in fish and gas to Trinidad ( rumor is they have an operation in macanao), there is no security at sea (you cannot even go fishing because you will get robbed), plus there are no parts plus a shortage on marine gas and parts for engines. I think it is the fisherman because they are f&*king arrechisimo!!!!

      But if the resistencia pulled this off, hopefully Vinetur is next, followed by Mata Figaroa. Regardless, the resistencia taking credit for this is a good PR move!! At this point I still think it is the fishermen because they have the balls, boats, guns and gas tanks to pull this off.

      Regardless, a shot over the bow for the enchufados at Vinetur. And a perfect storm is poor people going after enchufados at the same time as the resistancia. I hope the poeta is right and we are celebrating in June.

    • I freaking love the idea.

      Haven’t read the link yet, but part of this change that all of the food goods will be U.S. produced, pumping that money back into the economy. Fucking brilliant. Plus, no wasted $ on cookies, cakes, soda, etc.

      Ever see how fucking fat most of these “poor” people are?

      On another note, my sense of irony was in high gear hearing the leftists complain that “Trump wants the poor to eat rice and beans!,” although that’s quite a negative description of it.

      The irony is how people in VZ are starving for even that, and here in the states, they’re complaining.

      Maybe irony isn’t the right word.

      • 100% US farm-produced product IRA…..which has been my main gripe about the CLAP boxes, 100% IMPORTED so zero encouragement of the locals to produce product for the program.

        • If the US runs it like Venezuela, Al-Qaeda or Hezbollah will be in charge of the distribution.
          If you think about it, the reason we need food stamps is to make people spend their benefits on food instead of booze, drugs, gambling etc..
          There are many incidents of fraud. One of the most common is people selling their food stamps to small grocery owners for 50 cents on the Dollar.
          The welfare policies that mushroomed benefits and gave everything to the females during the Johnson administration are a disaster.
          The Black families have been destroyed. The fathers are inconsequential.
          The trillions of Dollars that the US taxpayers have spent on Welfare have had the result of trapping an entire section of out population in generational poverty.
          This has resulted in a never ending cycle of out of wedlock births, poverty, suffering, dropping out of school, drug use, violence, murder and incarceration.
          Every time there is an election, the Democrats are telling the Welfare recipients that they “help”, that if the Republican or Conservative candidate gets elected they will lose their entitlements.
          If the people living in poverty ever realize that the welfare that they have become so dependent on for generations is what is keeping them in poverty, the Liberals will be screwed.
          Making people dependent on government assistance guarantees a voter base for the Democrats in the S.
          Chavez knew this. Maduro knows it. Why the people that have Obama phones don’t understand it is beyond me. They have been enslaved by the very programs that they were told were to benefit them.

  13. —-Since voodoo is portrayed as terrifying black magic practiced by Haitians, people tend to automatically associate voodoo with any negative thing that happens to Haiti such as the 2010 earthquake or the last hurricanes. Religious people commonly say that negative things happen to Haiti because of voodoo, which is irrational, untrue and somehow racist. In this sense, it is relatively easy for other nations like Venezuela to believe that anything related to voodoo is evil, which explains also their fear of …

    ——

    Negative things happen to Haiti because the country is so fucked up that ANYTHING remotely negative becomes a major disaster there.

    A hurricane claims hundreds of victims and destroys 5,000 homes, for a total property loss of 75 bucks. Haiti is THE quintessential shithole.

    And if you think it’s as fucked up as it is for any other reason than the Haitians living there, I respectfully disagree. A disgusting culture.

    Just ask the Dominicans.

  14. They’re called Harvest Boxes.

    “The plan, outlined in the administration’s budget blueprint for fiscal year 2019, is being dubbed “America’s Harvest Box” by the Department of Agriculture. It would provide 16.4 million households, about 81% of current food stamp recipients, with boxes of non-perishable food items grown by U.S. farmers in place of some of their SNAP aid. The government’s proposed program would apply to households that receive more than $90 in food stamp benefits.”

    http://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/2018/02/13/trump-plans-to-replace-food-stamps-here-s-how.html

    I would imagine some of the recipients will not be pleased with this new program. Probably pretty tough to have to barter peanut butter for cigs and Boone’s Farm. Hey, speaking of peanut butter, it’s been months since I had some and that was the first time in years. My woman actually found a jar somewhere in Maturin. She didn’t even know what it was but “it looked like something the gringo would eat”. LOL A buddy of mine here who owns a small bodega had never tried it. He loved it. I hardly eat it when I’m in the states, but when something’s not available, it’s suddenly desirable.

    • M, I eat tons of peanut butter, and with Fluff too! Not just sandwiches, but I dip apple slices in it, the only way you can get me to eat an apple.

      But this ain’t your grandfather’s peanut butter any maker.

      In the states, it’s not just off the shelf Skippy or Jiff, it’s become a premium boutique product, with small companies using different strains, processing and flavoring ideas, like small companies that process their own cheese, olive oil, etc.

      Not cheap stuff, but the way they’re making it, it’s enormously healthy and delicious.

      • “In the states, it’s not just off the shelf Skippy or Jiff, it’s become a premium boutique product, with small companies using different strains, processing and flavoring ideas, like small companies that process their own cheese, olive oil, etc.”

        You cruel bastard.

        • MRubio – you must have great reasons to stay in Venezuela, despite, well, Venezuela. Peanut butter, notwithstanding, I’m sure its worth it or you wound not be there (right?)

          • AG, sometimes I question my reasons for staying. I think the older I get the more I’m like my dad. He grew up during the great depression and was hopelessly frugal until the day he died…..even though he didn’t have to be. He and mom put four boys through college and we all went on to successful careers. Mom and dad did not want for anything.

            I worked really hard for 20 years and managed to retire before I hit 50. And while I was still productive afterwards, it was nothing like before. When I bought my place here, I put everything I could into it and developed it literally from scratch. After 10 years I sold it.

            Always said that I should have been born in the 1870’s or so and living here sometimes feels just like that. You better be on your toes, all the time. And frugal? Venezuela takes frugal to new extremes.

            Anyway, I’m too old to start over somewhere else and besides, I wanna stick here long enough to see some of these mother fuckers pay for what they’ve done. LOL

      • Only chocomani (chocolate and peanutbutter) here, but good shit and hard to find. I live in Margarita and no hay pescado (because much of the marketable fish goes black market to Trinidad) and hard to find coco seco (brown, dehusked meaty coconut, dont know how to translate) on a tropical island. Finally si hay in Rattan today and I bought everything they have. My dad is Trini and we cook everything with coco and curry. No hay carne roja (red meat), pero si hay chivo y cordero (goat and lamb). Blows your mind to live here and to realize this is all because of socialismo de mierda!!!

        • Guach….bet I know where the goat comes from. I used to sell bales to guy who has hundreds, if not a thousand or more goats on Margarita. Virtually all the very young male goats get slaughtered for the grill. Good stuff.

          Do you speak English with that Trinidad accent?

          • Yeah, pretty much, but Trinis will call me out. I have been to Trini at ton while living in this shithole, but Trinis realize I am not from there. I am a f*^king mutt, a cacri lol. Did my bullshit social science degree at University of the West Indies at Mona in Kingston Jamaica. Spent a lot of time living and working a real world job in El Imperio as well.

            But I love Trinidad!! “Duck and Goat” curry powder from Trinidad is the best, just fry that shit in butter (ghi even better), once the room smells like curry: throw in your onions, aji dulce and whatever, then the goat and homemade coconut milk and let it simmer for hours. Absolutely awesome!!! Coconut milk is so expensive on the island, I just make it from scratch when i can find cocos secos. I scratch my head why the people do not make arroz con coco here more or use coco in most dishes. Tastes awesome and an excellent source of nutrients. But most just prefer their cubitos, cheez whiz (riquesa) and harina pan. As a chef, I just want to beat some people over their heads with my frying pan!! That said, Margarita Gastronomica is doing some excellent work and there are some really great restaurants on the island.

            Another ingredient I grow in my garden, that is indigenous to Venezuela but nobody every uses (like cocos secos): culantro, not cilantro, but culantro. Trini green sauce is the best marinade ever!!! well up there with jamaican jerk hahaha

          • Guacharaca, I’m from S. Louisiana originally where we have some of the best food in the world, but those dishes you describe sound great. For me, Venezuela is generally a gastronomic wasteland…..the food is generally very bland and poorly seasoned, if seasoned at all. If it wasn’t for cubito and sopa maggi, there’d be no taste at all.

            I’d love to get some recipes from you, not that I’d be able to find any of the ingredients.

  15. So US prosecutors partially unsealed an indictment in which a top Venezuelan official, identified as “B” allegedly received bribes from the indicted defendants all regarding PDVSA contracts. Prosecutors then leaked the name of “”B”, none other than your own Rafael Ramirez, former head of PDVSA. A couple of things drew my interest. While the news account says !Ramirez left the US for some unidentified company Associated Press contacted him. On addition the indictment also describes an official “A whose identity was not leaked. Hmmm, just speculating but o$icial A would probably be Ramirez’s boss at the time. Now, back to voodoo, peanut butter and duck and goat curry.

  16. Among those charged Monday was PDVSA’s former chief of corporate security, Rafael Reiter, who frequently appeared alongside Ramirez in public. Another was a former deputy energy minister, Nervis Villalobos, who stood in as head of PDVSA when Ramirez was on official business abroad. Both Reiter and Villalobos were arrested in Spain in October on U.S. warrants and are pending extradition along with a third former official, Luis Carlos de Leon.

    http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/official-us-believes-venezuela-oil-czar-bribes-53036181

    • I have speculated before that there may be sealed indictments that had stopped some people from being sanctioned in the hopes of grabbing them in their travels.
      This has the effect of making the regime speculate on who may be cooperating with the US authorities and who may not be safe traveling to the US or EU countries.
      The level of paranoia within the inner circle must be intense.
      I would still like to see LOD end up in prison. In the meantime she may have a treasure trove of incriminating information. The regime kept ramping the pressure up on her instead of moving quickly to remove her from office. This may have given her time to assemble a lot of evidence and safely get it out of the country with the click of a send button.

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