Venezuela: Travelers ‘Want to See for Themselves What’s Really Going On’

Travel Blog  •  Jim Benning  •  03.27.06 | 11:42 PM ET

The Bush administration might see Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez as a Fidel Castro-loving, Condoleeza Rice-taunting, socialista anti-Christ, but some American travelers aren’t so turned off of Venezuela. A new generation of sandalistas, it seems, is heading south. “Channeling the spirit of 1980s Nicaragua, 1970s Chile or even Cuba in the ‘50s, Venezuela is drawing a new generation of students, celebrities, intellectuals and activists,” according to an interesting item in Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle. “Famous recent visitors include actor Danny Glover, singer Harry Belafonte, anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan and Bolivia’s new president, Evo Morales.”

Andrea Buffa of Global Exchange has a theory about that. “People have heard that there’s a social transformation going on in Venezuela, they’ve seen a lot of Hugo Chávez in the headlines, and they want to see for themselves what’s really going on,” she told the Chronicle. Global Exchange has a number of upcoming Reality Tours to Venezuela.

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