By Greg Simpson
The last time I visited Venezuela was in 1986 on a trade mission as a director of the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers. Twenty-seven years later and not much has changed other that the degree of poverty. Extreme socialism has gripped the country. This photo tells the story better than any words. The homes are built on land they do not own illegally. The structures are subject to landslides that will kill hundreds in one storm. The power to these homes is hooked up to the grid by homemade wiring. Many die in the process of hooking up to live power lines. Sewage is dumped into pipes that run down the mountain side into the valley below.
60% OF THE PEOPLE ARE CONSIDERED TO BE POOR AND LIVE IN SHANTY TOWNS ON THE HILLSIDES.
The highlight for me in this trip was a flight from the interior of Venezuela to the La Guairá International airport. I was scheduled to fly on a commercial plane but one of our customers has co-ownership in a Twin Commander. He had made his plane and pilot available to my broker and me to fly back to Caracas.
This plane is pressurized, powerful and fast! Once the plane was airborne I took control of the plane and flew it to 20,000 feet. We flew from the interior of Venezuela on a northerly heading to the coastline. From there I flew a VOR approach to the airport. I was able to land the plane as well! There were 4 passengers, the pilot and myself. There was an applause that erupted as everyone was overjoyed when the plane landed smoothly.
This trip was very educational and it really makes me thankful that I am Canadian and have a country that has civil security and plenty of resources that are marketed by a free society. Thank God!