Back from Caracas & Maracaibo: Time for writing and talks

First of all, Greetings!  I have been in Venezuela during July and half of August, talking to contacts and doing research on the present situation.

I was fortunate to have had the benefit of hundreds of hours of heart-to-heart discussions with Venezuelans  from both the pro- and anti-chavista camps, both in and out of government, and some in neither camp.  I also met with several foreign reporters, business people and diplomats.  There are really not many other people from the global north in Venezuela now (I did find one grad student, from Finland).

So this post has no analysis, per se:  it is laying out a plan for the coming few weeks.  I may have figured out a few things, so I’m ready to blog, to give reports and talks to interested groups and firms here in the global north.  Topics on which I have updates, new information or  analysis to offer include (not in order of priority):

  1. Oil sector: attempts to stabilize and enhance production (esp. in the Faja, Maracaibo, Monagas, etc.), foreign firms’ new plans and attitudes, civil-infrastructural issues to allow Faja field development (blocks in Carabobo, Junin, etc.), Chinese, Chevron and  ENI plans, new PDVSA projects and improvements. etc.
  2. ESPECIALLY: China‘s increased engagement in Venezuelan finances and economy – perhaps finally a reversal in Beijing’s long frustrations with Chavez and PDVSA in the oil sector. The geopolitical implications and constraints China is imposing on the Chavista government
  3. Upcoming elections:  attitudes and preparations by opposition and Chavista blocs
  4. Inplications of President Chavez’ cancer
  5. Relations with Cuba, and Cubans’ roles in the Venezuelan state
  6. Iranian relations and the new, mild US sanctions on Venezuela;
  7. Venezuelan mideast policies, especially vis-a-vis Libya and Quaddafi, Syria and Assad.
  8. New developments with Colombia and President Santos, including Bolivarian attitudes to the FARC and obstruction of FARC members’ presence in Western Venezuelan border areas; cross-border drug issues; border security, etc.  The Colombian war on the FARC and parcos, etc.
  9. Profound Venezuelan crises of infrastructure and institutions, including electricity, crime and insecurity, health care, food, inflation, corruption, the ongoing Venezuelan ‘brain drain’ and many more issues.
  10. A general assessemnt of the direction of Venezuelan society, politically, economically, and in social-cultural matters, in so far as I see these issues from speakiing for long hours with deeply concerned and involved Venezuelans from all three blocs:  the opposition, chavista and “ni-ni.”   .

Today I start blogging about all this.  If your company, institute or academic department is intersted in an up-to-date briefing on any of the above issues, contact me at


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