Nouveau Sandalista on Venezuela: ‘There Is So Much Vibe and Passion’
Travel Blog • Jim Benning • 01.25.07 | 2:22 PM ET
We noted early last year that Venezuela was the new, hip Latin American travel destination for good sandal-shod lefties (or naive commies, depending on your perspective). Cindy Sheehan, Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte, among other famed agitators, had already made the trek. Now comes another breathless report on the phenomenon. “From a trickle a few years ago,” the Mail & Guardian reports, “there are now thousands, travelling individually and on package tours, exploring a left-wing mecca that promises to build social justice in the form of ‘21st-century socialism.’”
The story continues:
Successors to the so-called “sandalistas’’ who flocked to Sandinista-ruled Nicaragua in the 1980s and to Cuba in earlier decades, their ranks are to swell further now that Chávez is accelerating his self-styled revolution after last month’s landslide re-election. “Socialism or death—I swear it,’’ he said last week, and declared himself a communist.
“It’s just amazing being here. There is so much vibe and passion, there is truly a sense of revolution,’’ Lucy Dale (20), a university student from Chicago on a 17-day trip, said last week. “I want to return to do volunteer work.’‘
This article, too, points out that Global Exchange, the San Francisco-based non-profit, is among the organizations leading group trips.
Those visitors, it seems, hear different opinions on the “socialist mecca.” The story notes: “Some groups, such as those travelling with Global Exchange, meet opposition figures and hear claims that Chávez is hoarding power by fusing his movement into a single socialist party, not renewing the licence of an opposition-aligned TV station and plotting to abolish limits on terms of office.”