To Helmut, my dear stepfather (1945-2018)

The Red Friday announcements continue to cast a big shadow over the country, while other events cause serious impact: from the viral anti-Maduro video that puts two firefighters in jail to the brutal death of Caracas councilman Fernando Albán while under SEBIN’s custody.

The arrest of former treasurer Alejandro Andrade puts more attention on the scandalous web of corruption created and encouraged by the government, particularly over one Raúl Gorrín. Finally, the municipal council election takes place in December with one of the largest abstention rates in history. Just in time for the 20th anniversary of Chávez’s rise to power.

The massive emigration drive continues but the government creates its own response plan to try diminish it. The discussion about a possible foreign intervention continues and the overall feel at home is of economic chaos and a growing sense of desperation. Very fitting for a year like 2018.

October

“Let’s see, how do we make things funny?” That’s a question all comedians ask themselves. But a Venezuelan comedian needs to ask himself another question: how do we keep making things funny? Read more.
  • The Burro Mockery Could Spark a Rebellion, Ricardo Del Búfalo October begins with the aftermath of a viral video mocking Maduro, comparing him to a donkey. Comedian Ricardo Del Búfalo tells us about the power of laughter in dark times.
  • The Heritage of Operación Cóndor,  Ignacio Ayala. Why is there a serious pushback for a foreign intervention in Venezuela? Beyond the ideological divide, there’s the fear of the past coming back. A past that brought death and sadness to many.
  • Albán: Contradictions of the Guilty, Milagros Socorro. The shocking death of Caracas opposition councilman Fernando Albán, days after being arrested by SEBIN, causes stupor and indignation. More so when the official version tries to pin it as a suicide. But the overwhelming evidence available proves otherwise.
  • Adiós Teodoro, Francisco Toro. October ends with the passing of Teodoro Petkoff, a major political figure in the last decades. Quico offers a glimpse of why Teodoro was so important and what his legacy will be…

Special Mention: Ghoul Nation, written by David Parra & illustrated by ModoGráfico

 

November

Gas went from being the cheapest in the world—one of Maduro’s complaints—to being the only one in the globe that’s given away for free, because sometimes service stations don’t even take money anymore. Read more.
  • Chavismo Kicks the Ill When They’re Down, Naky Soto. Naky goes inside an IVSS pharmacy, it’s an account of the heart of the struggle to find medicine in today’s Venezuela: a crossroad of inefficiency, cruelty and disdain.
  • Mafias Search for Lost Gasoline, Civilians Pick Up the Last Drops, Víctor Amaya. You may find it ironic, that drivers have to search and wait for gasoline in an oil-producing country. With supplies now at the lowest levels, the dysfunctional subsidy system has reached rock bottom and even smuggling mafias who benefit are feeling the crunch.
  • BusTV: Culture Jamming Censorship One Bus at a Time, Andrea Quintero. There’s more than one way to fight censorship and disinformation: please meet ElBusTV. Created during last year’s protests, it continues with its efforts, even if public transport dwindles.

Special Mention: Die Wende: From East Germany to Post Chavista Venezuela, José Gonáalez Vargas

December

Two OLP officers went inside and asked Nancy and Juan if they were armed. Then, they took her son and restrained him face-down in the hallway. Nancy looked for her son’s ID, showed it to the policemen and they replied: “Your son killed a police officer on July 17, we have to take him, please go to your room.” Read more
  • Breaking Down, Milagros Socorro. The tragic death of two professional baseball players in a crime-provoked car crash shows the contained anger that many around the country must bear with grinding teeth.
  • HIV+ in Venezuela? Migrate or Die,  Tamara Taraciuk and Kathleen Page. Venezuelans who are HIV+ are finding out that going abroad is perhaps their only chance to survive…
  • Guayaquil Blues,  Arnaldo Espinoza. A Venezuelan journalist now living in Ecuador shares with us not only about his experience, but how our diaspora living there faces both the challenge of adaptation and the rise of xenofobia.

Special Mention: The entire TWENTY Special.

That’s it for 2018, a rough year of losses. Yet, there were also some gains here at Caracas Chronicles: New voices, broader subjects, fresh perspectives and even some cool imagery, courtesy of the great Modografico.

2019 already looks as a mammoth challenge for Venezuelans, no matter where they are. Caracas Chronicles will be part of it. Please join us (and support us if you can).

I wish all of you that next year brings at least a little breather, but most of all strength.

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for the four parts showing the shit show Venezuela was/is and will continue to be. So now we are almost starting 2019 and what do you guy’s see happening in this glorious year of the Pig “(The year of the Pig 2019 comes right after the Year of the Dog (2018) and before the year of the Metal Rat (2020) a year of fortune and luck)”

    Who’s fortune and luck will it be?? I’m betting Chavistas (Y)

  2. The single most important event that will impact Venezuela in 2019 has just been announced:

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/arielcohen/2018/12/21/americas-oil-and-gas-reserves-double-with-massive-new-permian-discovery/#4ba83ec02c91

    Prospects for Venezuela:

    1) PDVSA will be a loser forever without massive US (Wall Street) investment and cutting edge US digitized oilfield technology.
    2) Number 1 will not happen unless investors are convinced of a US, Trump friendly, Venezuela for the foreseeable future
    3) Number 2 will require a bloody revolution and an, “alt right wing” new government (OMG!!!Oh,No!!!Anything but that!!!)

    Bottom line: Venezuela is fucked forever.

  3. Gustavo: Thank you for all of your hard work creating this wonderful four-part resource. It has already proven to be very useful tool to help me educate my family and friends about the Venezuelan nightmare.

    • Agree 100%, a major/worthwhile effort, appreciated by most readers, criticized by a few. The breadth/depth of CC news coverage this year is nothing short of amazing.

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