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Review: Venezuela’s revolutionary leaves chaos behind

August 2, 2013

“Comandante” isn’t a tribute to the late Venezuelan leader, Hugo Chavez. Rather, it’s a realistic account of his follies and chaotic governance. The profile of Nicolas Maduro, his successor, bodes ill. What the book lacks is atmosphere, depth and drama.

Chavez’s economic program did everything but work

March 5, 2013

The Venezuelan strongman won elections regularly and his populist economics played well at home. His rule coincided with a giant surge in oil prices, helping avoid bankruptcy. Yet Chavez’s policies alienated foreign investors as well as governments and kept Venezuelans poor.

Venezuelan political folly is a cue for investors

January 10, 2013

Allies of ailing Hugo Chavez seem to be taking even greater liberties interpreting the constitution than expected. There’s no inauguration, caretaker government or sign of a new election. If markets truly hate uncertainty, then animus toward Venezuela should be off the charts.

Chavez’s cash pump PDVSA runs on empty

September 6, 2012

Venezuela’s troubled oil group may now pay suppliers with IOUs instead of cash. That’s not surprising because Hugo Chavez is using PDVSA to finance social spending ahead of elections. Harder to imagine is what happens when oil prices decline from today’s lofty heights.

A post-Chavez Venezuela is no investment bonanza

May 8, 2012

Despite breaking another long silence, the president has markets morbidly optimistic about his poor health. The country’s debt is soaring in value. But any new government will still struggle with backward Chavez policies. Unwinding years of economic mismanagement won’t be easy.