Chavismo Ruins Paradise

You can't get there from here.

All through the last 13 years, I’d had this – in retrospect, rather complacent – feeling that, try as they might, chavismo would never be able to ruin the very best part of Venezuela: the knee-weakeningly beautiful Canaima National Park.

Turns out I was wrong.

Fuel shortages have brought tourism operators to a grinding halt throughout Canaima. No fuel means no curiaras, which means no way to get up to Angel Falls, or anywhere for that matter. As a result, for the last ten days – yes, ten daysthe park has been at a standstill.

As for the tourists who’ve travelled thousands of miles and spent thousands of dollars for their once in a lifetime chance to hang out in paradise? Better luck next time…

40 thoughts on “Chavismo Ruins Paradise

  1. I must say that I have conflicting views on any impulse that the chavista government can give to the venezuelan tourism. On the one hand, I would really, really like that the government would stand behind tourism so the tourist experience gets better. On the other hand, I feel that the job would be poorly executed, and we end up having “Playa Pantaleta on Good Friday” in every Los Roques key.

  2. It’s not just in Canaima. A friend of mine was in Amazonas (near San Fernando de Atabapo) and described me more or less the same scenario. Everything Chavismo touches, it destroys.

  3. I’m in the tourism business in Margarita. Chavez has successfully destroyed the foreign tourism here on the island. We no longer see Brits, Americans, Germans, Canadians, Scandinavians, etc., etc. except in lone spottings. Our revenues have dropped more than 50%. From 3 full time employees a year ago we are now down to one.

    You can’t live on the national market which at best represents only 10 or 12 weeks a year.

    We really need someone to take a hold of the tourism reins & get us back on track. With 25 years of experience in Venezuela I would be willing to consult with the new government on what we need not just here in Margarita but in the other tourist areas of the country.

    • For sure, the economic problem that we are facing in Europe has something to do with it as well. I used to go a lot to Central and South America but now a days, I have to be more rational with my money and holidays, unfortunately…

    • It has been 25 years since I went to Margarita, it was about the time tours started from Canada. Margarita has always had an infrastructure problem. At the time, I remember, there were water problems. We would stay three or four days without water, the airport was a mess and there were blackouts. It was hyper expensive to get a car and once one got it, it was like a BIG favor from someone who knew someone.

      We would endure that because we knew Margarita and its charm: the empanadas in the market, the cachitos in the 4 de Mayo, la Sierra and Los Castillos, the hidden beaches, the ladies finding Guacucos in the morning in Playa Guacuco, the wonderful restaurants and the great shopping. We put everything in balance and found that Margarita was worth it, but I always wondered how on earth a foreigner that did not understand the language, the culture and the hidden treasures of the island would prefer to go to Margarita than Jamaica, Barbados, Dominican Republic or Mexico.

      So my point, IC, is that Margarita’s infrastructure has always been a problem. It seems it got worse since then…why other countries can exploit the beauty of their resources and we can’t?

      • Exactly Bruni. There has never been anyone in my 25 years here that approached tourism here in Margarita with any idea of what was needed. Since Chavez came direct flights have disappeared, garbage abounds, roads are in terrible shape – there is just no direction. Morel, our governor, needs to be replaced however the MUD, in it’s wisdom, has finger pointed him for another term. This could turn out to be a drastic mistake. There should have been primaries here.

        We could compete with other Islands in the Caribbean if just someone with some vision & the resources to accomplish it would take control. It’s really a shame. We have a market of over 350 million people just a 4 hour flight away and there are no direct flights. The few Americans we get these days love it here.

        The numbers of unemployed or under employed tourism workers is growing every day. This will create a social problem as many are women & sole support for their families. The don’t need handouts – they need steady employment. This also applies to the taxis, tour companies, construction, retail, etc., etc. that depend on tourism to survive.

        Another year of Chavismo will put us all under economically.

        • Canuck, was is the story with the new cruise ship terminal? The taxi driver told us they could never use it becuase it was designed too shallow for the big international ships. Shame. Now it functions as a school of some sort?

    • Thank you for pointing this out. While tourism has been increasing throughout SA and is projected that US citizens will be traveling more and more to SA in thefuture, (check on
      airline travel and future projections of airline travel)- everyone knows it has been decreasing to Venezuela.
      I find incredible deals to fly to Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica, etc. but never NEVER any
      good deals (actually I found 1 only one in past few years)to Venezuela.
      For example- I read that in US most states 37 I think – tourism is their number one industry.For myself- I do not imagine Chavez as “Mr. Hospitality”-but, if I were a
      communist, terrorist, narco, bombmaker I am sure I would get the red carpet treatment..

    • The problems with infrastructure will take YEARS and no Months to fix….so you better be patient. Also may Europeans and Canadian tourist do not like to spend a ot of money when they travel abroad. I can’t understand this, because they come from countries where you need to pay a lot if you want water in a restaurant!. For these tourist, Venezuela is relatively expensive for the quality of services that you get and the lack of security.

      • Maria, in truth Margarita is much cheaper than most other Caribbean islands if you are changing your dollars at the realistic black market rate & not the fantasy world of Bs.4,3.

        Meals, booze, etc. are comparable or lower than Miami & about half of what you would pay in Barbados or Aruba.

  4. You had me worried for a second. No tourism ≠ ruining. Yes, it sucks that the park is at a standstill, but that’s different from hanging revolutionary slogans on Roraima or dying red the water of Angel Falls. And it’s a bit odd to blame the fuel shortages on Chávez when the guarimperos are the ones who take all the fuel in Bolívar state and use it for something truly destructive. If there’s a shortage, that may show the government may actually be cracking down on fuel contraband, which would be a good thing.

    • 1-Stop giving them ideas!!!
      2-Coño, are we really to the point now where the patches put on insane policies to address one set of unintended consequences “would be a good thing” even as they deepen a different set of unintended consequences?!

    • Now, now Sapito, this comments section isn’t supposed to be used to point out the logical inconsistencies in the bird-brain arguments here.

      See, in Toro’s mind, an amazing nature preserve is ruined not by too many tourists, but by a lack of them!

        • I’m not making an argument. Just pointing out the obvious nonsense of Toro’s argument.

          Do you think nature preserves are ruined by a lack of tourists? Simple question, yes or no.

          • Well GAC,
            To your simple question I say yes. The people that live there are also part of that ecosystem and tourism is, for many of them, what puts a plate on their table.

            I think tourism in places like Los Roques and Canaima should be heavily regulated. I think these places are treasures. In this particular aspect I think the government has been lacking a lot. Specially when our Ministro del Ambiente says that oil spills are “normal” in an oil producing nation and we should accept that as a fact.

            It is possible to have a tourist operation with no impact to the environment and still perceive the economical benefits from such operations.

            But in this case you are not really looking fro debate aren’t you? You are just looking to argue

            • Thank you Rodrigo, for demonstrating your lack of basic reasoning skills.

              IF it were true that the people who depend on tourism were negatively affected would that mean that the nature preserve was “ruined”??

              Come on Rodrigo, show us that you aren’t completely incapable of logic and reasoning.

            • Hijo de papá, Chris,
              Do you want to know what the military government of Chávez does in that area?
              Do you?
              This is what it has done, among other things:

              http://venezuela-europa.blogspot.com/2010/04/rape-of-venezuelas-paradise.html

              The only “real” job there is illegal mining, which was present already in the late eighties and nineties but by far not as much as now. For every illegal miner back then there are a hundred now…and the military just pretend they don’t know…over and over again.

            • Kepler, the webpage you linked to is perhaps one of the stupidest blogs I’ve ever seen. It is terribly written too.

            • GAC,
              I am just using your same fallacies of debate. Naturally you don’t think Toro is referring to the place it self (nowhere is that mentioned in the article) but to the industry that exist there.
              Why is that you always appeal to insulting? Why do you remain in anonymity? You know who I am. You can even see my facebook profile and find my email. Why do you lack that courage?

            • Rodrigo,

              He mentions the place in the first freaking sentence. Seriously, give it a rest man. You’ve got nothing but one failed argument after another.

              You’re right, Canaima National Park is “ruined” because some tourism has been interrupted for couple weeks.

              In other news, Yellowstone National Park was completely destroyed by a snowstorm that interrupted tourism there last month.

            • GAC,
              Snow in Yosemite can only be blamed on the heavens. Lack of fuel in Canaima is poor management on behalf of the authorities.

              You can argue that 10 days is nothing. Regardless of that, any impact caused to fellow Venezuelans, small or large due to poor management is unexcusable.

          • Actually, your arguments makes as much sense as saying that runaway crime statistics and destroyed transportation infrastructure encourage people to spend time at home with their families.

      • Contrary to what you say, this comments section frequently points out inconsistencies. Quico and Juan sometimes change their politics based on these arguments. I wouldn’t know if you have the same integrity, since you don’t give your name.

  5. The decline in tourism goes beyond infrastructure and availability of gasoline. It will take longer than a few months to reverse the trend:

    http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/south-america/venezuela

    http://www.voyage.gc.ca/countries_pays/report_rapport-eng.asp?id=313000

    http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1059.html

    I used to go to Margarita, Playa El Yaque frequently, until I not only sensed the change, but friends experienced it first hand. Truely sad.

    • Lazarus,
      These links confirm that I will not visit Venezuela until Chavez is gone and crime is diminished. Maybe I will never return to Venezuela. It is sad, really sad.

  6. Chavismo doesn’t ruin the Natural paradise in this case, Chavismo ruins the economy and the security of the Nation.

    • Right, because everyone knows that Venezuela’s economy has been brought to its knees by a temporary interruption in tourism to Canaima.

      You guys crack me up.

      • Add more or less permanent interruption of tourism to most of Venezuela, foreign and internal from destroyed infrastructure, crime and whatnot. Canaima is a minor symptom. YOU crack me up.

  7. There are a zillion places where people could go and see beautiful natural scenes,
    camping, swimming, etc. -several waterfalls, for example- but no infrastructure. My
    brother-in -law goes to one every year and camps…Several undeveloped areas that
    could be great for tourists and the common ones often need much upgrading of facilities…

  8. And we futilely thought there was a single corner of Venezuela that could save it from the Third World troglodytism. Yeah, PDVSA, Metro de Caracas, the Universities, National Parks, natural beauty.

    Sorry, as long as it is in Venezuela and within range of morons with troglodyte ideas, it cannot escape.

  9. Sad, sad, sad. Canaima is an amazing place.
    Significant tourism that has been eaten by the revolution:
    1) Margarita-now a dangerous paradise
    2) Merida-where is the world’s longest cable car? now in china.
    3) Eco farms that have been nationalized
    4) Canaima–I wonder if the fuel flows when the inner circle takes over the park (They used to do that a lot)
    5) The coast along Macuto. Sure it was a landslide that wiped it out, but has it been rebuilt?
    6) How is avila Magica going?

    Such a beautiful place. I wish people could see it.

  10. O/T -News from Bolivia.venezuela has 5 military bases in Bolivia reports Fausta.
    Chavez wants Haiti to form an army (-Chavez promised to help outfit with uniforms,
    weapons, etc. and Cuba will train)to join with ALBA forces and prepare to fight US-
    believe it or not -and Martelly (President of Haiti) is for this too-to keep himself in power
    in Haiti..
    I would add- it is not just to fight US-but to “liberate” other islands from colonialism
    and that includes Puerto Rica-don’t take my word for it-Chavez and Martelly said it.

  11. This is what Capriles said just a few minutes ago:
    Globovisión ‏ @globovision
    Capriles: según el Gobierno aquí hay filas de turistas

    Capriles: En 2011, a la Isla Margarita solo fueron 60 mil turistas

    Capriles: Uno no puede bañarse con la novia en la playa. Uno se queda cuidando la cartera

    Capriles: Usted no puede salir en la noche del hotel porque lo puede atracar y cuando prende la TV hay cadena

    Capriles: A la isla de Aruba, el año pasado, fueron más de 4 millones de turistas

    Capriles: en el turismo, calculamos unos 80 mil empleos, pero podrían ser más

    He certainly has my vote.
    As this thread has now been replaced by newer ones probably this comment will not be seen but this is exactly what I was saying further up in the thread.

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