After taking a few days off, I’ve decided to go on a more permanent hiatus.
When I first started this blog in 2014, I had lots of free time to write the daily updates (sometimes up to 3-4 hours per day!). Since I’ve always written the updates by myself, free time is all I really needed.
Free time is what I lack the most now.
After I started my doctoral degree in 2015, I had less time for the website, but not a whole lot less time. Since my research was on Venezuela, I could justify spending lots of time (sometimes 2-3 hours a day) combing through Venezuelan news and writing the daily updates as part of the research process.
In 2018, I started to dedicate more and more time to helping out around Bellingcat, so much so that I was hired at the end of that year as a full-time staff member. This means that over the last year and a half, I’ve had two full-time jobs: my research/training job at Bellingcat, and my doctoral dissertation.
As you might imagine, having two full-time jobs is not ideal for a few reasons.
On a typical day, I’m in front of my computer and working at 7:30 AM. This early morning work tends to be whatever is more pressing that day or that week–maybe I have an article or thesis deadline, or I’m preparing for a webinar (or, before COVID-19, preparing to travel for a workshop). I’d work with a couple of breaks (for lunch, for example) until 8:00 pr 9:00 PM. By that time I’m mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted, and the last thing I want to do is more work… and that’s when I’d fire up WordPress and get to work on the daily update.
As I’ve learned, this is not a sustainable arrangement. There aren’t enough hours in the day to do all three things. And so I started taking time from activities like sleep, rest, and family time, which (as you can imagine) eventually took a toll on my health.
If a candle could burn on three ends, I would be that candle.
Accounts to Follow for Venezuela News
Luckily, there are lots of people providing excellent coverage of news from Venezuela on Twitter and elsewhere. If you’d like to keep up-to-date on developments in the country while I’m gone, I recommend these people and their organizations (who tweet in English)
- Phil Gunson from Crisis Group
- Geoff Ramsey from the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
- David Smilde, a Venezuela expert at Tulane University and senior fellow at WOLA
- Caracas Chronicles
- Paul Canning
- El Pitazo in English, for daily news from Venezuela
- InSight Crime, which has a Venezuela research unit
- Sarah Kinosian from Reuters
- Luc Cohen from Reuters
These accounts/organizations publish in Spanish, but are definitely worth a follow (Google Translate is free and easy to use!):
- Roberto Deniz, from Armando.info
- Cesar Batiz from El Pitazo
- Luz Mely Reyes from Efecto Cocuyo
- Roman Camacho, freelance
If you don’t have a Twitter account, I really recommend that you get one. If you follow these accounts, you’ll be more up-to-date on Venezuela than you would be reading my updates (you can also follow me!).
Not a “Goodbye!”
I’m not saying goodbye. I’ll be back, even if it takes me a year.
My biggest time sink at the moment is my doctoral thesis. The longer that it takes me to finish it, the longer that this time sink is allowed to exist. In order for me to finish it as soon as possible, I need to dedicate more time to it than I have been dedicating over the last two years or so. And, looming over the horizon (probably at the end of the year or early in 2021) is what I expect will be a thesis writing lockdown period where I’ll need every available minute to get over the finish line. This period might last several months.
The good news is that once I’m done the PhD, I’ll have a lot more free time since I’m not planning to go into academia. With the PhD out of the way, I’ll be able to dedicate quite a bit more time to this website.
In the mean time, I might be back occasionally with an update if something really big happens.
Until then, take care of yourselves and of each other! Thanks for reading.