Welcome back Piratas!
Yesterday the Venezuelan government banned presidential primary opposition candidate María Corina Machado from office for 15 years, sparking international condemnation.
Recent polls show right-wing Machado’s popularity on the rise— she is currently leads a crowded field of 14 candidates vying to challenge socialist President Nicolás Maduro in the 2024 election.
The latest survey by Caracas-based firm ORC Consultores showed her with 46.4% of voter intention, a 10% gain since the beginning of the year.
In the decision, Venezuela’s Comptroller office stated that a previous ban imposed because Machado supported sanctions by the United States on the Maduro government and backed former opposition leader Juan Guaido, will now be extended.
Even leaders who have been friendly towards the Maduro government, such as Petro Gustavo in Colombia, have criticized the decision.
It’s a complex subject, and one of the things we do at PWS is break down the context and nuance that often gets missed by the big media companies. To that end we reached out to Caracas journalist and political analyst Tony Frangie Mawad to talk about what this means for ongoing sanctions, how the opposition is likely to respond and why Machada, often called MCM within Venezuela, has been banned.
And it was a fascinating conversation.
You can listen to the podcast here or download it with a simple click and peruse at your convenience.
We are in the process of reforming the crew! This month will feature a number of guest appearances by other journalists who have expressed interest in becoming full-time pirate contributors! And we’re excited about the pitches we have received.
Joshua was largely at the helm for all of June whilst Daniela was buried in a mountain of freelance work, but she will be back Wednesday captaining the Ship’s Log for paid subscribers.
And Joshua will be taking a well-earned week off.
Also as part of these efforts we are planning to more formally relaunch the podcast series. How do you prefer consuming your Pirate Wire updates? Written features? Photo essays? Podcasts? As we reformat and bring more contributors on board, we’d love to hear from you, our readers, about what you think we do best, or simply what you prefer.
Please do drop a note in the comments!
The Big Headlines in Latam
Venezuela’s election ban seems to have been based on skullduggery, capriciousness and anti-democratic impulse, but in Brazil, the decision to ban another potential candidate was based more on rule of law.
Ex-president Jair Bolsonaro was banned from political office for 8 years after being found guilty of abusing his power ahead of elections last year.
He had been accused of undermining democracy by falsely claiming that the electronic voting system was unreliable, as well as vulnerable to hacking and fraud.
Three prominent Colombian citizens were slightly wounded by the a bombing on a civilian target in Kramatorsk Ukraine as they ate lunch at a pizza restaurant. Sergio Jaramillo, former peace commissioner who helped negotiate the landmark 2016 peace accord with rebel group the FARC, Héctor Abad, one of Colombia’s most famous Colombian writers, and journalist Catalina Gómez were talking with Ukrainian writer, Victoria Amelina, when the restaurant exploded.
Colombian president Gustavo Petro condemned the action by Russian forces as “a violation of the protocols of war” and Colombia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a formal diplomatic complaint.
The Russian Embassy in Bogota responded, rather non-diplomatically, that Karmatorsk was “not a suitable place to try Ukrainian cuisine”, largely blaming Colombia for the incident.
Spanish Word of the Week:
hipotálamo — hypothalamus
The hipotálamois a small region of the brain, the ‘hypothalamus’ in English.
Joshua, upon seeing headline in a newspaper while shopping for groceries misread the word as hipopótamo, and nearly started screaming because he swears to God if he has to read one more story about Pablo Escobar’s Hippos in Colombia he is going to burn down every newspaper office in the country.
Luckily, his not-entirely-irrational fit of anger was unwarranted on this occasion. Interestingly, one of the functions of the hypothalamus is to control mood— apparently his was not working in prime form that day.
There’s always hope next time will be better. And there will be no more damn hippo stories in the foreseeable future.
Thanks as always for reading (and listening!)
Hasta pronto piratas!