To Helmut, my dear stepfather (1945-2018)
The second trimester of 2018 we saw the crisis worsen, in its many dimensions: political, socio-economical, even demographical. But as the crisis keeps unfolding, the government doubled down in their quest to hold power, just like they did in 2017.
In January, the Constituyente unilaterally decided to move the presidential election from the first Sunday of December to April 2018. Then, they postponed it to May 20, as a gesture to convince some members of the opposition to join in. Only a small part stood behind former Lara State Governor Henri Falcon. The rest boycotted it, just like great part of the international community. So, the “election” went on, surrounded by indifference. And it changed nothing.
In Venezuela, the government of President Nicolás Maduro is arresting and detaining—in horrific conditions—teenagers who use Facebook to call on friends to attend anti-government demonstrations. Read more.
- Transitions Suck But You Wish Venezuela Were Near One, César Crespo. An answer to Quico’s “¿Y tú qué propones?” could be that wishful thinking, inaction and having doubts about the true nature of the monster are not the answer.
- Venezuelan Cam Girls: A Desperate Option to Make Ends Meet, Pedro Garmendia. One direct consequence of the economic and migrant crisis is how vulnerable some Venezuelan women are to sex trade, including being “cam girls” on the internet.
- A Pimp Talks About the Venezuelan Prostitution Business in Peru, Johan González. Venezuelan prostitutes are in high demand in Lima. Their pimp speaks candidly about the business.
- Kids Behind Bars in Venezuela, Tamara Taraciuk Broner. The aftermath of last year’s protests has left a problematic trend: minors jailed and undergoing trial as adults.
- Venezuela’s Collective Action Problem, Daniel Urdaneta. In the wake of a crisis without precedent, neither side is offering an option and people see no incentive in taking action. DAUZ explains why there’s no solution to our “collective action problem”.
- Let’s Discuss Nicolás’s Five Years of Epic Victories, Carlos Hernández. Five years have passed since Nicolás Maduro “formally” took power. How is he “winning”?
- Struggling to Survive, Venezuelans Take the Blood Blackmarket Risk Mabel Sarmiento. A look inside the black market for blood that has appeared and the patients who have no choice but to use it.
- We Gather Here Today to Mourn the Passing of DolarToday, Anabella Abadi & Francisco Toro. DolarToday has apparently passed away as the main source of black market exchange reference we have in the land. Anabella and Quico offer a unique obituary.
- Revisiting April 19, 1810: The Path to Venezuelan Independence, Rafael Arráiz. Professor Arráiz gives us the lowdown on what really happened on April 19, 1810.
- The List of Political Prisoners Keeps Growing, and We’re All a Target, Daniel Andrade. The list of political prisoners keeps growing at alarming rates. Same illegal procedures and violations of due process, different victims.
- La Resistencia Took to the Streets and Had To Stay There, Guillermo Arcay. An unexpected conversation with a forgotten member of society takes a poignant turn, and we learn what happened to our “guerreros de La Resistencia” once they went underground.
- The Catholic Church in Venezuela Turns the Other Cheek Amidst the Current Crisis, José González Vargas. With Holy Week around the corner, we see how the faithful, especially the Venezuelan Catholic church, are doing its best to commemorate this occasion.
Special Mention: Frontera Chronicles: Venezuelan Migrants Hope for a Better Life in Brazil Betilde Muñoz-Pogossian
Today, we face a government who’s using the SEBIN and DGCIM to take people from their beds at three in the morning, execute insurgents on live TV and kidnap innocent bystanders with the sole purpose of shifting blame and attention from the issues that really plague Venezuela. Read more.
- Frente Amplio (MUD Reloaded) Protest Unmasks How Weak It Is, Mabel Sarmiento. May comes in and with that, the new attempt of the MUD coalition to relaunch itself as the Frente Amplio Venezuela Libre. SPOILER ALERT: It backfired big time from the start.
- Once the Safest Bet Against Hyperinflation, Real Estate Loses Value, Roberto Pérez & Fernando Tonelli. Hyperinflation is making inroads in all aspects of our lives. Even real estate, once the logical firewall for many to hold some financial worth in the face of the economic downturn, isn’t working.
- Nobody in Zulia Will Read This with Their Blackout Curse, Braulio Polanco. In Zulia, their worries are more urgent, like the fact that electrical blackouts are there to stay.
- Banesco Intervention Popped A Bubble: Our Financial System Is Completely Destroyed, César Crespo. The announcement of the intervention of Banesco by the state, one of the largest private banks in Venezuela, makes things way more complicated for the already suffering banking sector.
- Without the Goat and Without the Rope: The Opposition Braces for a Miserable May 20, Francisco Toro. In the end, the May 20 “election” takes place. As expected, the divided opposition ended up losing.
- Prediction: On May 21, Henri Falcón Will Blame Us, Victor Drax Let’s be clear: Henri Falcón himself is to blame for his own failure, even if he points his finger to others.
- Javier Bertucci Finds his Flock, Tomás Straka. One small winner in the short term is evangelical pastor Javier Bertucci who makes himself known to the public.
- The Thing Everyone Seems to Agree On: Elections in Venezuela are Rigged, Emiliana Duarte. But in the larger picture, it doesn’t matter: as Emi says, everyone knows it’s all rigged, anyway.
- We Buy Gold and Silver, Mary Castillo. Other options to get by in these tough economic times are gaining momentum, like selling gold and silver valuables.
- Elders Left Behind: Invisible Victims of Venezuelan Migration, J.C. Gabaldón. The collateral damage of the migrant crisis at home is the large amount of older people being left behind on their own.
- DGCIM Plays the Gestapo Game Like They Invented It, Daniel Andrade. Those who remain here can still have some things for granted, like our ruthless state intelligence agencies. In this case, the military intelligence.
- Die Abroad from Yellow Fever, Ask Me How, Johan González. For those leaving, getting a certificate that you’re free of yellow fever for your passport can be quite a hassle.
Special Mention: Armando Reverón: Macuto, Juanita, Light and Nothingness, Rafael Arráiz
One of the fundamental aspects of the government’s political strategy is the establishment of a “new opposition” tailored to its needs, a process started a few years ago, but sculpted with care in the last couple of months. Read more.
- Totalitarianism, Actually, Francisco Toro. June begins with Quico saying that it’s now OK to describe the regime as “totalitarian”. Sort of. After all, isn’t pushing dissidents into forced exile abroad something totalitarians do?
- Chavistas Design a Tailor-Made Opposition and It Suits Them Fine, Andrés Becerra. And in a somewhat related story, the government wants to cherry-pick its political adversaries accordingly. Totalitarians indeed…
- RCTV Was the First of Many: On Chavismo and Freedom of Speech, Ibrahim Noguera. The road to full communicational hegemony is being paved with the remains of many private media outlets, right since the shutdown of RCTV back in 2007.
- Venezuelan Migrants Try Finding the True North, José González Vargas. Venezuelans are heading north, but with the recent immigration crackdown in the U.S. of A., it seems like pursuing their own American Dream these days is no easy accomplishment.
- The Silva School of Journalism: Bad Taste, Bigotry Presented as News, Braulio Polanco. A new style of journalism shakes the scene, but it isn’t either new or stylish. Just look at Jesús Silva.
- Guess Who’s Back, Back Again, Polio Is Back, Tell a Friend!, Astrid Cantor. Venezuela has seen the return of diseases once considered eradicated… Well, polio has joined the list.
- Happy 23rd Birthday, from Crimes and Violence Against Women, Ignacio Ayala. …But other terrible things have never been fully eradicated, like violence against women.
- Villca Fernández’s Forced Exile Is Unconstitutional. So?, J.C. Gabaldón. The Venezuelan government treats political prisoners like trading cards and the imposed exile of Villca Fernández, to remind us how far the walls of our prisons stretch.
- The Sanctions Predicament, Alexander Trivella. The international community strikes back at Maduro with sanctions, but can they really be effective?
- What if We Simply Follow the Rules?, Anabella Abadi. We can blame the government for all our woes, but Anabella asks: What if we simply follow the rules?
- Venezuelan Gifted Children Navigate a Decaying Educational System, Mary Castillo. Of course, following the rules would require some serious quality education, but even the most gifted children can’t get it here.
- Millennials Don’t Get Any: No Dating, No Love, No Sex in this City, Nina Rancel. To end the first half of the year, Nina tells us how hyperinflation is also killing the romance…
Special Mention: Chavismo’s Shifting Crypto Strategy, Alejandro Machado
As the World Cup in Russia distracts us, half of 2018 is over. What will the rest of the year bring? Wait for Part III.
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