Hugo Ch

It's the Dinero, Caudillo
March 09, 2010

What were two members of a violent Basque separatist group doing with 11 members of Colombia's narco-Marxist insurgency in a remote corner of southwestern Venezuela in August 2007? According to a blockbuster indictment handed down by a Spanish judge last week, they were participating in a kind of intercontinental terrorist training camp held under the aegis of the Venezuelan military.

Double Down
January 15, 2010

Otherwise-obscure central bankers spent an unprecedented amount of time in the global limelight last year. As the crisis brought down not only banking behemoths, but also macroeconomic axioms, the expansionary measures enacted by the Fed’s Ben Bernanke, the European Central Bank’s Jean-Claude Trichet, and the Bank of England’s Mervyn King have been credited, at least for now, with preventing a second coming of the Great Depression.

Adios, Monroe Doctrine
December 28, 2009

The ouster of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya has provided Latin America with a revelatory moment. Beginning with the Monroe Doctrine--and extending through countless invasions, occupations, and covert operations--Washington has considered the region its backyard. So where was this superpower these past few months, as Honduras hung in the balance? More or less sitting on its hands. The fact is that the United States is no longer willing, or perhaps even able, to select who governs from Tegucigalpa, or anywhere else in the region for that matter.

Washington Diarist: Platon's Cave
December 18, 2009

I am as worldly as the next dreamer, but the scales fell from my eyes, the same ones that keep finding their way back to my eyes, when I opened The New Yorker a few weeks ago and found, in a portfolio of “portraits of power,” Mussolini’s full-page face piggishly staring at me in chicly lurid detail, the very emblem of brutality made aesthetically acceptable. And when I turned the page there was Franco, in full generalissimo kit gazing coldly forward, every hair on his heartless mustache uncannily vivid in a miracle of photographic verisimilitude. Is nobody any longer beyond the pale?

Bad News for the Axis of Chavez
December 01, 2009

Francisco Toro and Juan Nagel write the Venezuelan news blog Caracas Chronicles. The Honduran crisis surely reached its Rococo stage this week after fresh elections organized by the coupsters' regime saw the election of a conservative rancher as president—while Brazil's nearly sainted left-wing president, Lula da Silva, promptly rejected the poll as undemocratic ... a scant few days after welcoming Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Brazil with open arms. The election of President Lobo has split the international community, and in mostly predictable ways.

Who Came out of the Honduran Crisis Looking the Best? Hillary.
October 30, 2009

Francisco Toro and Juan Nagel write the Venezuelan news blog Caracas Chronicles. A version of this post originally appeared there. The Honduran tragicomedy that has consumed the hemisphere's diplomats for months is at an end (read the details here).

Dangerous Liaisons
September 24, 2009

For years, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez cast himself as President Bush's arch-nemesis, repeatedly accusing the Bush administration of plotting to overthrow the Venezuelan government and to assassinate him. This was how Chávez justified an unprecedented military buildup and his tightening alliances with Russia and Iran.

Crude Joke
February 12, 2007

IF THERE WAS one thing George W. Bush and his clique were supposed to know, it was oil. That, at least, was the widespread consensus back in 2000, when Bush first sought the White House, and it was easy to understand why. Bush’s grandfather was an oilman. His father was an oilman. He himself had worked in oil. His vice presidential nominee, Dick Cheney, was the former CEO of energy giant Halliburton. His campaign’s chairman, Donald Evans, was CEO of the oil company Tom Brown.

La Guaira Diarist
October 02, 2006

“It isn’t a secret as to who might come. Venezuela is oil-rich, and the imperialist countries have kept an eye on our natural resources for some time now,” explained Captain Jose Nunez of the Bolivarian Naval Police. It was eight o’clock on a Wednesday morning in June, and I was seated, sweaty and barely awake, along with a group of 20 other journalists at a naval base in La Guaira, Venezuela. Packed into a sparsely furnished conference room, we listened to the captain explain why the government of President Hugo Chávez had decided to invite the press to a week’s worth of war games.

Crude Awakening
October 02, 2006

Earlier this year, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in China—and quickly made himself at home. The occasion was a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional group linking China, Russia, and Central Asia. During the summit, Ahmadinejad seemed to be everywhere. He posed, arms linked, with Russian and Chinese officials, who said nothing as he called for “impartial and independent experts” to investigate whether the Holocaust happened. He delivered a major address broadcast on Chinese state television.

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