Why you shouldn't visit my country
Welcome to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, country of the highest waterfall in the world! But unless you want to experience the most traumatic culture shock of your life, please don't come.
In Venezuela, you will find the Catatumbo Phenomenon, where lightings falls nonstop above the Maracaibo Lagoon. Or some of the most beautiful beaches (and people) of the world.
But I'm gonna be honest. I will speak to you clearly, because even though Venezuela is a paradise, and is warm, and beautiful, and breathtaking, it's one of the most dangerous countries in the world. Why? You may ask. Because of rising poverty, social problems, political crisis, etc. How could this affect you? Well, if you are foreigner, chances are you are even killed inside the airport.
Venezuela has such a high homicide rate that over 25.000 people die by violent related causes every year. Take in account the population of Venezuela is 10 times smaller than that of the US; just about 35 million people, with net migration increasing every minute that goes by. Last time a report was issued, the homicide toll was three times higher than that of the US, then again remember Venezuela is 10 times smaller.
Now, if you don't get killed for that nice watch you are wearing, you will surely notice something odd in the country's biggest, and as far as today, the only functional airport, Maiquetia.
If you still want to stay, then you are probably going to Caracas, the capital, that is located around 30 minutes away by car. While taking that trip you will encounter horrible housing projects, suspicious looking people and probably get robbed by the taxi driver.
Luckily, you got to Caracas. Probably you go to a nice hotel, as things in Venezuela are relatively cheap for foreigners. Still, you better be careful, as, even in the Euro Building hotel, the most luxurious in Caracas, a man was shot at inside the pool.
Maybe you decide to base your diet in restaurants. In there, the waiter will look down at you, and ashamed, he will said they have no oil, or sugar, or fluour.
If you decide to shop and cook your own food, then you will encounter this.
There's nothing. And if you do get food, you will have to pay on average the same as a Venezuelan minimum wage in very few items. You decide if this means a problem for you, as the minimum wage in Venezuela is at 10USD. Advice: Never show you have dollars, not even a penny. People are not evil, but most people are in intense need. Although most criminals were armed by the government, as you can see in multiple interviews where they acknowledge it (They say they need to arm their supporters, then rub their heads when gun related crimes take place) other people, including children as young as 4, don't even earn those 10USD per month. How can a big family survive on that?
If you are in Caracas, or a popular city, you sure will experience protests and tear gassing.
You will look at the propaganda displayed in the streets, bodies lying beneath.You will look at the children, and some will break your heart.
Maybe you go to the angel falls, take an amazing selfie, and you get to see the Catatumbo light during the night, but I hope you're not; you are taking a risk way too high. Not only you are under danger, but you are also going to get a bad image of my beautiful country, because who can smile you back when they worry about being hungry and losing their loved ones?
In Venezuela, people are amazing. If you get to know a Venezuelan, he or she will be warm and kind. Even if he used to love Chavez, or she is a compromised protester. In Venezuela I was born. I chased the ice cream seller for two nice treats. I went to school, I skated during New Year, I danced along typical music. I saw beautiful sundowns while laughing with my friends in the gates of the most amazing school in the world.
But in Venezuela two of my relatives were killed because they carried something quite nice like a watch, or a cellphone. In Venezuela my older relatives struggle with health because they can't get what they need. In Venezuela, two of my friends were thrown in jail and almost tortured for protesting. There, I had to run away from the safe gates of my school because a tear bomb was dropped inside, only because we were known for being oppositors. I saw children as young as four crying because our eyes burned so much. I didn't find food. I worried when it was 9 pm, and my mom was nowhere near to be seen. I cried when my sister’s best friend mom died because she had cancer in the wrong country, and I cried because I saw teenagers covered in blood and still standing. I cried when I left, and I have cried because my mom high salary from Venezuela doesn't provides almost nothing for us in Colombia, but you know, everytime she goes out, I don't worry I will get a call saying she was killed because she took her phone out in the street. I don't worry when my dog gets sick, because here there's way to help her. I don't worry when I see military men, because here, they don't point guns at me.
I hope in some years I can delete this article, but in the meantime, don't come to Venezuela.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Maria Cardenas