To Helmut, my dear stepfather (1945-2018)
The first half of 2018 is over, but many of us didn’t imagine what was coming next.
With the internal opposition in disarray, Maduro’s main nemesis now is a substantial part of the international community that pushes targeted sanctions against him and selected subordinates. The migrant exodus gives no sign that it’ll stop soon and the socio-economic decline rolls down fast.
In order to fight the “economic war”, Maduro works in a new plan: scraping five zeros off the bolivar. Yeap, we’re doing the “bolívar fuerte” strategy all over again, this time called “bolívar soberano”. Along with his pseudo-cryptocurrency, the petro, he wants to regain the initiative.
But weeks before that, a strange event caught all of us off guard: an alleged assassination attempt against Maduro with explosive drones during a military event in downtown Caracas. Right until this moment, many are unsure if it really was a legit action or a staged operation.
We live in two countries, where one is oblivious to the other. I know it’s insulting, depressing, shameful and even stupid to see it all through the lens of “class struggles” (in fact, it’s also bad for our health) and I’m not going to say that it’s faulty to be rich, because it must be amazing! But it’s terrible to see a country so shamelessly blind to the other. Read more.
- Some Classes Struggle More than Others, Víctor Rodríguez. A couple of interesting questions: Are we not one Venezuela, but two? And are those two countries capable of understanding one another? What a way to start the month.
- Culture and Art Resist the Dictatorship, Mile Castro. What if I told you that the same hegemony that muzzled our media is doing the same with our culture? At least, we can bear witness to those artists daring to resist chavismo’s idea of art, which is better known for its more common definition: ideological and/or political propaganda.
- Reactionary Left Clings to the Ghost of Venezuela’s Past, Clifton Ross. As Maduro gets the cold shoulder from abroad after his recent “re-election”, he can still count with the support of international far-left movements that turn a blind eye on our present suffering, clingling instead to the nostalgia of better times under the comandante eterno.
- Celebratory Incongruity: 5th of July Is a Civilian—Not Military—Holiday, Carlos García Soto. Our national holiday is July 5th, in which we celebrate the signing of our Independence Act. Then why is that day treated mostly as a military victory instead of a civilian event?
- “Room for Rent. Venezuelans Need Not Apply”, Betilde Muñoz-Pogossian. Venezuelans who’ve left endure plenty of hardships, including being victims of xenophobic behavior.
- Seeking Justice, Venezuelans Take Matters Into Their Own hands, Braulio Polanco. As authorities are incapable (and/or unwilling) to stop crime, more citizens are more open to make justice on their own.
- Happy Birthday, Doralzuela, Liz Rebeca Alarcón. The Venezuelan capital in foreign soil celebrates its founding anniversary. How a little town outside Miami became the hub of the Venezuelan diaspora.
- How the Dictatorship Ruined WhatsApp Group Chats, Facundo Padrón. You know things are really bad when reality crashes in your WhatsApp groups. #GraciasMaduro
- Will History Absolve Chávez?, Germania Rodríguez. Another big question: Will history ever absolve Hugo Chávez?
- Chávez Started It, But Maduro is Who Matters Now, Diego Bautista Urbaneja. For Diego Bautista Urbaneja, the comandante presidente has his share of the blame, but the main focus should be on Maduro now.
Special Mention: Nicaragua Chronicles, Jefferson Díaz
“My son had leukemia, I brought him to the hospital so he could begin his chemotherapy treatment. They would apply the treatment for two days because he had a very high fever. A week after we arrived, his mouth started filling with bleeding moles. He underwent a blood test, which resulted positive. He got antibiotics for a month, but it was useless, his condition worsened and he died.” Read more.
- Powerless and Leaderless, Zulians Fumble in the Dark, Braulio Polanco. Zulia has been having a dark year with the blackouts and both political sides are having it too.
- Why Did the Cuban Parasite Kill Its Host?, Francisco Toro. In the end, we’re a Cuban colony, then why have they allowed it to collapse like this?
- No Honor, Glory or Food When Enlisting in the Military Now, Mila Padrón. Joining the military won’t guarantee that your service will be rewarded with covering your basic needs.
- The Cheap Masculinity of Venezuelan State Watchdogs, Javier Liendo. Meanwhile, our state security forces are too busy by constantly proving their own masculinity.
- Emigration, Remittances and CLAP: Maduro’s Three Crutches, Andrés Becerra. The government has found a strong trifecta to stay in power: exodus, remittances and CLAP.
- Bacteria & Negligence Result in Dead Children In Barquisimeto, Rosender Evies. For the parents of several children who died in Lara’s Children’s Hospital, the tragedy has shattered their lives.
- Venezuelan Art Students Can Barely Withstand Hyperinflation, Ana Victoria Silva. How are local artists resisting? Is hyperinflation breaking them as well?
- To Participate or Not To Participate: Is That The Question?, José I. Hernández. It’s hard to think about voting again, but should we?
- One Billion Percent Later, Frank Mucci. Inflation reaches a very, very sad milestone.
- Red Friday: Anatomy of a Mad Adjustment, CC Econ Nerds. August 17, 2018. A night that will live in infamy. Everything we took for granted will change.
- Denial: the Best Venezuelan Way to Deal with Failure, Manuel Llorens. What remains for ordinary Venezuelans? Denial is always an option, according to Manuel Llorens.
Special Mention: Venezuelans: Searching for a Lost Home, Raúl Sánchez Uribarri
Dying in Maracaibo is now a double tragedy, since the city’s cemeteries can’t even guarantee the security of the bodies buried inside them. Read more.
- Graverobbers Plunder Maracaibo’s Old Cemeteries, Mario Pérez. As September kicks in (along with the consequences of Red Friday), we receive a dispatch from Maracaibo with the trend of robberies among the old cemeteries in town.
- Camarada Picasso: Art for Propaganda’s Sake, José González Vargas. But the government can’t be bothered: they have a new Pablo Picasso exhibit that suits their ideological agenda.
- Henrique Capriles: From Political MVP to Allegedly Corrupt Politician, Gaby J. Miller. Former Miranda State governor and presidential candidate Henrique Capriles makes headlines again for his alleged involvement in the Odebrecht corruption scandal. But some think that this is mostly a vendetta against him.
- Lines Blur Between Venezuelan Dystopia and Caribbean Cyberpunk, David Parra. Is Venezuela turning into a special kind of cyberpunk-styled dystopia in the Caribbean? Well, it simply takes a walk around the street to see that we’re not that far from a William Gibson novel.
- Never Forget Who Luisa Ortega Díaz Used to Be, Germania Rodriguez. Another controversial figure who makes headlines is exiled, Prosecutor General Luisa Ortega Díaz. But even if she did switch sides, can she be forgiven for all the abuses in which she was directly involved?
- NYT’s Feel-Good Editorial Could Have Painful Consequences, Rodrigo Linares. The New York Times releases an editorial criticizing Donald Trump’s actions against Venezuela. But Rodrigo wonders: could that editorial from the Gray Lady cause more harm than good?
- Children with Hurler Syndrome Lack Medication and Proper Treatment, Juan Diego Vílchez Valbuena. For children with Hurler Syndrome, the shortage of medicine is no less than life-threatening.
- Venezuelans Who Stayed Need More than…, Rafael Osío Cabrices. The Venezuelan diaspora must realize that sending money isn’t the only thing they should give to their loved ones who stay here.
- Only One Party from 2015’s MUD Survives the Government’s Purge, Eugenio Martínez. How did the government almost wipe out the entire opposition party spectrum? With a little help from the CNE.
- Let Me Tell You What a Mandatory Chavista Rally Is Really Like, Winston Díaz. A first-person chronicle of how a mandatory pro-government rally is really like.
- Venezuelans Fleeing the Crisis Leave Ghost Cities Behind, Valeria Pedicini. More and more houses are left empty because of the exodus and as expected, the atmosphere is gloomy.
Special Mention: Frontera Chronicles II: Venezuelans in Colombia Fight for a Better Life, Betilde Muñoz-Pogossian
Three quarters of the year are set and done, but the final chapter is yet to come.
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