As you’ve surely heard by now, Hugo Chavez went to join his comrades in the afterlife this week. The downtrodden and those who worked for him are mourning, while the opposition and the business community are quietly cheering.
Time will tell how long it will take to undo the damage he did, the economy tanking despite a fabulous oil boom that drove the price to record highs on the world market. Some of the highest crime in the hemisphere despite swelling state coffers for police and one of the highest inflation rates in the world were the marks of his legacy. A brain drain has been going on for over a decade, as well as a wealth drain that has greatly benefited Panama and Colombia.
Venezuela has been one of the countries we have never covered in Luxury Latin America. I’m not sure we ever will cover it. That will depend on whether business leaders return, whether anyone builds hotels catering to high-end travelers, and whether tour companies are able to feel secure for the safety of their clients. It will also depend, of course, on whether the anti-American (and pro-Iranian) sentiment that marked the Chavez era will fade now that he is gone.
There are plenty of natural attractions in the country, from waterfalls and mountains to jungles and beaches. Whether the 180-degree turn necessary to attract visitors with money to those places can happen anytime soon is a mystery though.
Adios Hugo. Let’s all hope for a brighter Venezuelan future.