Tag Archives: Venezuela

Don’t turn your back to enemies-Indian in Venezuela

How come they turn his back when they talk?

During my trip to Venezuela to see “Angel Falls” I met some indigenous people so called Pemón. By talking to them, given that they seemed to be shy at first and then got used to talking, I found them similar to Japanese. Actually, it turned that they are descendants of Asian Ancestors.

As I talked to more Pemón, however, I found out that they are not being shy but it has to do with an interesting background.
According to them, Pemón have many myths and traditions For example, male friends don’t tend to talk face to face but turn one’s back. This is not because they are shy but because of their concept of enemy; they think that when two guys face each other, it is a sign of enemy.

On the other hand, for Pemóns, strangers have too hot souls which do not get along with their souls so that they hide their kids or elders until their souls cool out.

(A family work together to wash clothes in the river)

(A Pemón. He can be a descendiente of Asian)

In regard to education, they have compulsory education where they teach Spanish in Pemón, which is considered to be the best way in bilingual education.  Many projects have imposed the main languages (English, Spanish, etc.) which did not take into account the cultural context of learners.

Also, given that 90% of labor consists of tourism, there exists the need of understanding English, the third language they would learn. That is, ideally they would become trilingual through educational system.

However, there are many kids who think that education is a waste of time so that they drop out, the common problem in developing countries.

Although indigenous histories and cultures tend to be hidden, there are many interesting things in them. I think learning other culture means knowing and admitting the difference.
The next topic is about myths of Chiloé, a small island of Chile.


One sandwich for 1USD? 5dolars?

If you can buy one sandwich for 1 USD or 5 USD, which one would you choose?

I would prefer paying less.

Last week, I came back form a trip to Venezuela and Colombia.
The main objective of my trip was to visit “Angel Falls” in Venezuela, the highest waterfalls in the worlds (about 1000m of hight).
Although it was hard to get to the place to see the falls, it was so impressive.

Besides the falls, I also came across something impressive; it was exchanging US Dollars.

In Venezuela, the government controls the exchange of foreign currency regardless of the global situation or inflation. Therefore, it exists black market which buys USD with better rate.

The official rate: 1 USD = 6 Bolívares
The black market: 1 USD =30 Bolívares
That is, if one sandwich costs 30 Bolívares, depending on with whom you exchange USD, you either pay 1 USD (persons of black market) or 5 USD (bank).

OF course, it is illegal to exchange with black market so that there is no official information on the black market exchange rate.

In Venezuela, however, there are many people who want to buy USD so that it is not something rare nor risky. (You have to be careful though)
Actually, during my 4 days stay in Venezuela, I was asked to sell USD more than 30 times (the rate varied from 25 to 32 Bolívares)

I could not help asking WHY it was happening…
According to the information provided by various people, what’s is going in Venezuela is as follows:

The government require Venezuelan citizens to inform whatever transaction of USD (buying and selling) in and outside of the country. One cannot spend more than 3000 USD (approx.) per year, and the children (minors) are not included within this calculation.
For example, if one couple with two minor kids wants to travel outside of the country, the maximum amount of money that they can spend for 4 people is 6000 USD per year.
Therefore, if they buy USD illegally, they don’t have to inform to the government.
Besides, because of the inflation from which the country suffers now, the value of their currency (Bolívar) is really low.

En consequence, there are many people who want to buy USD in the exchange of a lot of Bolívares.

In this context, if you can buy one sandwich for 1 USD or 5 USD, which one would you choose?

This trip made me think so much about Capitalism and Socialism.


The End of Revolutionist


Devil was here yesterday
On Sep 20th, 2006, Hugo-Chavez, a president of Venezuela, called Bush– U.S. president at that time– as “Devil” for 8 times. This unprecedented performance had exceeded 9 minutes of 15 minutes’ rule of UN presentation, and UN representatives of many countries applauded him for long time.
“Anti-U.S. Continent” -Chihiro Ito-(2007)

Today, March 5th, after 14 year-long of revolution, Hugo Chevez passed away.
Although I was skeptical about his dictatorial ruling, I was impressed by his effort to
● make speech for 8 hours without break
● counter poverty
● promote compulsory education
● oppose the U.S. which had put unreasonable pressure on Latin America.

Venezuela, one of the highest oil producing country
Venezuela, one of a few ally of Cuba which also oppose the U.S.
Venezuela, a country where its politics had stopped functioning since last December when Chavez went to Cuba for treatment of cancer.

The announcement of Chavez’s death came hours after his condition worsened dramatically, and according to the media, the U.S. was involved with.
What is going to happen. There is an election in a month.

Another revolutionist has passed away.