Venezuela roundup

Everything in Venezuela is rising!
Look, the economy shrank much less than expected. (Not exactly a rise, but less of a fall.)
Look, the murder rate climbed in 2009 to 75 per 100,000, also known as 19,000 murders.
Look, Venezuelans on vacation in Spain danced with Shakira. (That’s been the front page story for a day at Panorama.com. The paper, which is normally Venezuela’s finest death porn, didn’t print a word on the government’s decision to ban publication of violent photos, but has now posted a state newswire article about the decision to rescind that order.)
Look, pasteurized cheese prices double in a week.
Look, more PDVSA bonds supposedly on the way.
Look, this day in 1799, Alexander von Humboldt noticed that the salt works at Araya were bleak.

We landed about eight in the morning at the point of Araya, near the new salt-works. A solitary house, near a battery of three guns, the only defence of this coast, since the destruction of the fort of Santiago, is the abode of the inspector. It is surprising that these salt-works, which formerly excited the jealousy of the English, Dutch, and other maritime powers, have not created a village, or even a farm; a few huts only of poor Indian fishermen are found at the extremity of the point of Araya.

PDVSA this month took over the salt works. The company plans to build a mammoth shipyard nearby, big enough to build very large crude carriers, the biggest class of oil tankers.

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