YAR Travelogue from Venezuela No. 1

Yesterday my wife (!) Charletta arrived in Venezuela for our honeymoon. We decided its the first time for both of us that we´ve been in a Latin American country as purely a tourist (previously it was studying, volunteering or CPTing). Venezuela seemed like a great place to go to see beautiful countryside and do some political sight seeing as well. We´ve been reading about Chavez for the past 8 years so it was about time we saw what it was all about first hand.

First impressions so far have been mixed. Our first political opinions on Chavez were from Emilio and Samuel on the bus ride from the airport into Caracas (tell you something about their economic status). Emilio is a student from the Southeast of Venezuela studying optometry. He used to go to St. George´s on Grenada but transferred to the Caracas campas after the Reggae culture of too much Ganja and Cocaine got to him. He was travelling with his cousin Samuel who is a professor teaching physical therapy. Neither of them had a particularly good view of Chavez. They said that he has been a polarizing force in the country, turning families against one another (sound familiar). They described his ideology as a mix of socialism, communism and anti-capitalism. These accusations weren´t new to me. However, they also said that in order to get a job with government or even to get a government contract “you have to have the right opinions.”

So that´s the first portrait. Over the next 2 weeks I´ll occasionally post other perspectives and reflections on the the politics and culture here in Venezuela. Hasta Luego!

Comments (3)

  1. Lora

    Tim, posting on your honeymoon!?! Yeah, I’ve pretty much heard the same thing about Chavez–just as polarizing as Bush, although at the opposite end of the political spectrum. Colombian refugees love him, though, since they get a lot of the services there (no questions asked) that the Colombian government has steadly been cutting, even as Colombia is asking for more funding from the U.S. for the war on terror/war on drugs. Most of the analysis I read in U.S. news dismisses Chavez and most Latin American leaders as leftists, but it seems like they’re more populists than anything. Keep us posted.

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