One of the most complex countries in Latin America, and one of the least understood, Venezuela is vast, and never dull. Its unique culinary traditions, linguistic quirks, colourful history, and busy annual cycle of festivities are part of a rich cultural heritage left by the Spanish conquistadors and the slaves brought from Africa, combined with elements that can be traced back to the indigenous Amerindian inhabitants
Venezuelans are known for being friendly, gregarious, and outgoing. They value family above everything, and love to criticise the status quo—but they are also fiercely proud and protective of their homeland and react poorly to criticism from outsiders. They are optimistic and forward-looking, quick with a joke, and instantly familiar with strangers. The key to their confidence comes from the large extended family groups they grow up in, and the constant round of birthdays, baptisms, weddings, and holidays that bring them all together for music, dancing, and general merrymaking.
Culture Smart! Venezuela takes you beyond the stereotypical descriptions of a tropical petro-state, famous for its beauty queens and its populist president, to provide you with an insider’s understanding of the country and its people. It looks at the historical roots of modern-day social values and attitudes. It offers advice on what to expect and how to build personal ties, and outlines how flexibility and patience are crucial to any business venture.
Practical tips, valuable insights, and vital statistics have been marshalled to enable you to get to the heart of this vibrant, sometimes contradictory, and increasingly important country.
If you plan to travel on a long-distance bus, bring your sweater and woolly hat (and maybe some earplugs). The Venezuelan travel companies insist on subjecting passengers to sub-zero temperatures. The earplugs are for the Van Damme omnibus that is sure to accompany your 9-hour coach journey.