Monday, March 09, 2020

Coronavirus a.k.a COVID 19 : the Venezuelan story

No need to soften the blow. If the first case of Coronavirus in Venezuela is not yet confirmed, it is just a matter of time until a verifiable one is reported.  In fact, the Pan American Health Organization has announced that it is sending missions to vulnerable countries. That is, vulnerable in their health system, including in the list Venezuela, Haiti, Nicaragua. The implications are obvious.

Venezuela is highly vulnerable to such an epidemy. The public health system is in shambles, unable to deal with such an epidemic, justifying the worries of the PAHO.  The private system has become terribly expensive, and it is certainly not designed to substitute the public health system. At all.

Never mind that elemental precautions such as washing your hands with soap are often daunting as soap is of poor quality, very expensive, and running water way too often not available. Using long stored buckets of water will not cut it.

More worrisome is the nature of the regime bound to hide what could be a major catastrophe.  I am going to pass on the usual accusations of conspiracy that the US would have created the Coronavirus to destroy China (and the world? including the US?). Some chavista was bold enough to mention 1989 as the date when the inoculation started.....

The idiocy of chavismo, its absolute lack of understanding and interest for science and objective data is well documented. What is more dangerous is its denial. Already the government of Zulia, where that possible case has been reported, said that it was all a farce, a simulation.  Imagine what will happen when it will not be possible to hide cases of COVID 19 in Caracas....

Let me remind the reader that the regime has made its strong suit to kill statistics and hide the extent on which old epidemics returned. We have again tuberculosis and rubeola. Paludism, Dengue and Yellow Fever are all back even though they do barely appear in official statistics.  And this has been happening for a long time. Ten years ago I was hospitalized for hemorrhagic Dengue and already doctors told me that they stopped reporting cases as the health ministry simply refused to confirm the cases coming to them daily.  Imagine today.....

Woe is us.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

A whirlwind start of year

Over a month and a half without writing...

Then again I learned the limitations of writing from outside of Venezuela. January and February have been so eventful that just thinking seriously about the implications of the events was not possible: something came right along to cancel any prediction or conclusion one may have had (or at the very least to force a review). I like to think about things because I like to have a reasonably definite opinion. Over the years I think this served me well. This January I would have had to change more than once..... And I observed that many journalists did not bother correcting themselves (I am looking at you NYT, among others but you were a repeat offender).

Then again I was very active on twitter, the only way to follow the cascade of events.

So perhaps it is time for a summary of sorts now that things flow at a more normal pace.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

What mattered in 2019

For yours truly, of course, no objectivity here. (1)

I pick as the marking moment of 2019 the burning down of Notre Dame in Paris. Why? Because it was infinitely more than a Church going down in flames, it was a hit on one of the main symbols of Western civilization. Period.

On the right the newspaper cover that is my "cover of the year", by Liberation, a progressive newspaper that was able to put aside any religious content to convey all the meaning on the moment. Notre Drame means our drama.  A truly national drama in France.

Other marking moments.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Welcome 2020

Dear readers, it has been two years in a row that the best wishes I received were the prelude of horrendous years of grief.  I am thus quite weary to partake in the ritual wishes.

But one needs to pick up the pieces, dust off, stand up and walk.

So there you go, have the best possible 2020.

2019 in review part 5: did international sanctions work?

More and more people are questioning the results of over a year of sanctions against the Maduro regime. Are they right?

Monday, December 30, 2019

2019 in review part 4: a suicidal opposition?

The opposition to the regime started on solid footing in January when Guaido was elected chair of the National Assembly as this one declared null the "election" of Maduro a few months before.  Unfortunately the high hopes of early 2019 have been dashed and many are trying to put all the blame on Guaido. This is unfair for many reasons.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

2019 in review part 3: the dollar bubble

The economy of Venezuela keeps tanking. And yet some papers are talking "improvement". This is bullshit and only reflects on the superficiality of Venezuelan coverage, still, after all of these years.  Then again if you limit yourself to Caracas you could be fooled, the more so that traveling inside the country is becoming more and more difficult.

Why? Two reasons. Caracas is the showcase of the regime, and this one has relented and allowed public use of the US dollar (other currencies come to nought in spite of the regime attempts at favoring Euros).

Followers