If you ask any Latin American at this moment: Which country in this continent is facing the strongest social, economic & political challenges? It is likely their answer would be: Venezuela.
Hence, my decision to make a 1700KM detour from my original itinerary: Instead of driving the 650KM directly from Cartagena to Medellin. I would do it in 2350KM with a detour heading North-East to Caracas. The road less travelled by I guess!
People had been warning me throughout Central America that Venezuela was a country to avoid. People in Venezuela I was put in contact with also warned me against going, including a diplomat at the Canadian Embassy.
But, my experience in Honduras and in San Pedro Sula gave me grounds to believe that I would be able to go though this experience with a positive shift.
I also relativized the fact that I was probably more at risk when driving my 600 lb bike into sharp curves on wet and foggy mountain roads at night. (I have done that more often then I should!)
Indeed, Venezuela is going through some difficult times, particularly with currency devaluation that is really hurting not only the economy, but the morals of people in many ways.
I recall a moment I was waiting in line at the cash in a supermarket, and the gentleman infront of me was told by he cashier that he had to put back one milk carton because there was a limit of one per client.
However, life ultimately does go on. And Venezuelans have a very unique strengh in their resilience. Part of that I think is rooted in a sense of belonging to a social project that has its ups and downs, but is their own, for better or worst. A sort of collective source of pride that comes at a rather rugged price.
My wish though, is to set intellectual analysis and commentaries aside for this album, and for you to simpy enjoy a bit of the ordinary. Not to ignore the issues, but to bring balance to the perspective that one may have on this very beautiful and rich country.