Going on Vacation to Venezuela? What Could Go Wrong?

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.

The prices will be re-assessed and updated as soon as a new financial system is fully in place.

The new system aims to eliminate the wheeling and dealing of the national financial oligarchy in international alliance that include parallel dollars, irregularities in exchanges houses and money laundering, Chávez explained from Miraflores Palace to Venezolana de Television, where the Council of Ministers is meeting. ...

We are revising the technical aspects of what will be announced shortly, he pointed out.

The government moves expeditiously and competently in such matters, so it's not too early to make plans for a summer vacation.

For the many health conscious tourists, Venezuela can't be beat; indeed, one could drop ten pounds or more due to the massive food shortages obviously caused by capitalist greed, food hoarding, incompetence of a few petty officials, speculation, and the bourgeois nature of some union members. President Chávez is as furious about the recent discovery of sixty thousand tons of rotting food stored in containers at the port of Puerto Cabello as President Obama is at the recent oil well disaster; like President Obama, he is on top of the situation.

"Debacles like this cannot be forgiven," Chavez said during a televised speech. "Justice must come into play with a well-sharpened sword."

"I've been informed that they detained one of those who must face up, the one responsible for bringing that food and having forgotten it there," he added without elaborating.

Chavez's comments came shortly after the Attorney General's Office announced the arrest of Luis Enrique Pulido, the former president of Venezuela's state-run food production and distribution company.

Coffee, a vile capitalist witches' brew if ever there was one, was produced not long ago in great quantity and quality; it is now gone, which is clearly a reason for joy among those interested in healthy living. Although malaria was up 85% during the first quarter of 2010 compared with the first quarter of 2009, and dengue fever was up 138% percent, this was due to the drought last year; Venezuelan mosquitoes, unlike all others, thrive where it is dry and can't survive in wet conditions.