Going on Vacation to Venezuela? What Could Go Wrong?

June 16th, 2010

By Dan Miller

Venezuela was once a beautiful but generally laid-back and therefore often relaxing tourist destination. My wife and I spent well over a year there off and on between 1996 and 2001. We enjoyed it so much that we thought of settling there permanently, probably up in the Andes not far from the university city of Merida.

Although much of Venezuela’s beauty remains, many things are different. What follows will, I hope, be seen as an attempt at satire comprised of a mix of disgust, love, despair, and hope. Disgust and despair may have overwhelmed love and hope.

The Venezuelan minister of tourism, Alejandro Fleming, is pushing Venezuela as an ideal vacation destination and he is right. Not only does scenic beauty abound, vacationing there would be instructive in many ways.

Fleming said the Ministry wants to give the industry a socialist twist, a claim that is not entirely new because it was the announced policy of his predecessor, Pedro “Fritz” Morejon, who has since and deservedly disappeared from the radar screen.

The State, the Minister reaffirmed, is running 11 hotels nationally and in June the Venetur chain of hotels, as they are known, will offer package tours after prices have been re-assessed and updated.

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6 Responses to “Going on Vacation to Venezuela? What Could Go Wrong?”

  1. Brianna |

    Dan – Excellent satire 🙂

  2. Dan Miller |

    The fame of el Presidente reaches far and wide. According to this, apparently Taiwanese, site, He has developed a cure for insomnia.

  3. Tom Carter |

    Dan, it’s really too bad what Chavez is doing to Venezuela. I haven’t been there, but I’ve read and often heard what a beautiful, nice country it used to be. Chavez is eventually going to destroy the country, and the final chapter of his reign is likely to be bloody and chaotic. That’s a tragedy.

  4. Dan Miller |

    Tom, Here is a link to a site entitled The Devil’s Excrement, so named because the discovery of oil (the excrement) in Venezuela years ago is seen as bringing on much of the corruption and other problems.

    The linked article deals with el Presidente’s absolute rejection of any opinions contrary to his own and characterization of them as “close to a crime.”

    It’s very sad, but the beatings will continue until morale improves or Chavez goes away; they may continue even then.

  5. Tom Carter |

    Interesting link, Dan. Thanks. I can already see Chavez apologists like Sean Penn and other numbskulls praising the quality of medical care in Venezuela.

  6. Dan Miller |

    Oliver Stone’s marvelous new motion picture about Venezuela’s great strides forward under el Presidente Chávez hasn’t gone over very well in Venezuela. Variety reports that

    Local observers in Venezuela have reported empty cinemas, indicating a stunning indifference to Stone’s pic, a documentary about South American leaders that devotes a hefty amount of screen time to the country’s President Hugo Chavez. In the 12 days after its June 4 debut, it grossed only $18,601 on 20 screens, according to Global Rentrak. Showings on mobile screens in rural areas (where Chavez has more popular support) have attracted crowds, but these screenings are free.

    The doc’s Venezuelan distrib, Raul Chamorro’s 9 1/2 Communications, reports that some 1,300 people came to the mobile cinema screenings in the towns of Vargas and Guarico.

    The highest-grossing docu in Venezuela is Michael Jackson’s “This Is It,” which earned $2.1 million.

    Just can’t please some folks.

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