VHeadline commentarist Oscar Heck writes: No wonder so many people hate Americans "- there's a man called Jeff Wheeland, who, according to his write-up, holds a Masters degree in Latin American International Relations "- and "- "has put that to good use by traveling in nearly every Central and South American country." He is apparently infatuated with Latin America.
Jeff is a travel writer, a good one and somewhat comical "- who writes for a site called Examiner.com (Latin America Travel Examiner).
However, although some of what he writes might be somewhat funny (if you like crude WASP-type humor--I don't), his writings are seasoned with typical US arrogance and disregard for others, especially for people who are not like Americans. I read a few of his articles in order to confirm my preliminary observations about this writer called Jeff.
Some of the first things that struck me about Jeff's writings were the following:
"Our only option is to take a bus to Valencia, a city near Caracas (just the name of the Capital sparks horrifying visions) "-After meandering around Ciudad Bolivar unsuccessfully trying to get money from twelve different ATMs, I finally throw my hands up in the air and scream 'Whyyyy God, whyyyyyyyy?!!' This response to continuous frustration would be a common occurrence in the next few weeks "- so we borrowed money from the Irishmen to eat and purchase rum to make the upcoming bus ride a little more tolerable."- We finally leave, again, and the rum is quickly opened. The two bottles we have are rapidly engaged. "- Although the bus driver is fine with this little cockpit soiree, the Venezuelan military is not. As we drove through a small town with the trademark Venezuelan traffic, this time caused by a military blockade."- In a country where carjacking and kidnapping are commonplace, six people in the cockpit of a bus is a warning sign for the military. Within seconds, the bus is pulled over by a cavalcade of military police on motorcycles. Panic ensues. The locals on board start hiding their belongings under their seats and in every nook and cranny on the bus. An uncomfortable situation becomes worse when one local on board told another that 'at least the gringos will be the ones that get kidnapped.' Apparently the military is not too trustworthy "- At this moment, two lunatics on board decide this is their chance to start the revolution against the gringos, and run outside saying we were driving the bus drunk."- This was when one of the crazy Venezuelan Chavistas on board jumped up and screamed 'We are Venezuelan! We shouldn't let gringos on our buses!' "- I stood up, walked over to the insane passenger and declared, 'Please madam, let me explain our situation "-HIIIYAAAH!!!' then karate-chopped her straight out of the window. Actually, that didn't happen; but I'll regret that it didn't until the day I die "- We embark again. At this point, even the Irish have sobered up from the fear of kidnapping, murder, and eyeball extraction by the Venezuelan military"-"
It seems to me that he was trying to be funny--but I do not find it funny--and I doubt that most Venezuelan would find it funny.
First of all, this Jeff character, along with his Irish friends, were being highly disrespectful of Venezuelan customs. One does not drink alcohol on a bus."- It is considered a lack of respect which is comparable to one lighting a cigarette in a crowded family restaurant with children and women sitting nearby. Jeff "-when you're in Venezuela, you are not in the USA or in some American teenage playground. I suspect that if you drank alcohol and got drunk on a public bus in the USA, you might be arrested and jailed and fined. At least, you would be thrown off the bus with no refund.
Jeff, typical of many USAers (and other westerners) has, as far as I can see, no respect for people who are not of their "superior race."
Most Americans and other gringos cannot get it through their sickened minds that there exists throughout most of the non-west world many basic and natural humanistic "laws" which are applied and upheld without the use of repressive rules and regulations. Unlike in the USA or Canada or Europe, where basic respect must be enforced by law, in Venezuela one will find almost no signs saying things like, "No Smoking" or "No Drinking on Buses" or "No Getting Drunk in Public." For example, unlike in the USA and most western countries, it is common sense not to smoke in certain places, like elevators, restaurants with children and women, in small areas with people who do not smoke, etc. Venezuela, as most countries in this world, does not need to have signs or make laws to impose the natural, simple and basic principles in respectful behavior.
What really gets to me about most Americans and other gringos is that they go to another country and if they don't see a sign that says, "No smoking" (or whatever), they go ahead and do it, even if it is in blatant disrespect of others or of local customs or even if it goes against natural common sense. But why? Apart from arrogance, perhaps the best possible explanation for the immature, irreverent and disrespectful behavior of most Americans abroad is that since in the USA there are so many rules and regulations, when Americans travel to other countries that have very few restrictive laws (such as Venezuela), they go wild, like teenagers on a vandalistic and drunken rampage of their surroundings, saying things like, "Hey, look what we can do here "- and nobody will arrest us or fine us or throw us in jail!" (But they lose all respect for you.)
From my experience (34 countries), and unlike what most Americans believe, there is generally little human freedom in the USA compared to most countries.
And Jeff, "-what is so funny about the image of you, Jeff, a man, karate-chopping a Venezuelan lady and with that blow, throwing her through the bus' window? Would the image be so funny if it were your mother or your blond-haired baby sister being physically attacked by a Black man twice the size? That is really, really funny, Jeff--for people with really sick minds.
And Jeff says that he couldn't get money out of the ATMs "- as if this were typical of Venezuela. If I were standing near him at an ATM, I wouldn't tell him how he can get money out of the ATMs. If he asked me, I would just shrug my shoulders, as I have done many a time with other disrespectful gringos visiting Venezuela, particularly, in Merida. It is possible to get money from ATMs in Venezuela, but I will not say how. It isn't that complicated and can be figured out by most people who have some imagination and common sense. Jeff appears to have neither.
Then I read some more: "Prior to arriving in Caracas the warnings I received from my Venezuelan friends painted this picture in my mind: Wear shorts, you get murdered. Carry your travel book around in public, you get murdered. Have blond hair, you get murdered. Go outside, you get murdered. Try to get murdered, you get murdered "? Thus, we arrived at the hotel without incident and 'Operation Try Not to Get Murdered from the Airport to the Hotel' went off without a hitch"The US-government propaganda machine has these "warnings" about Venezuela on their website:
"SAFETY AND SECURITY: Violent crime in Venezuela is pervasive, both in the capital, Caracas, and in the interior. The country's overall per capita murder rate is cited as one of the highest in the world. Kidnapping is another serious concern."- Armed robberies take place in broad daylight throughout the city, including areas generally presumed safe and frequented by tourists. Well-armed criminal gangs operate with impunity, often setting up fake police checkpoints."- Travel to and from Maiquetía Airport, the international airport serving Caracas, can be dangerous, and corruption at the airport itself is rampant. Travelers at the airport have been victims of personal property theft, as well as mugging and 'express kidnapping' in which individuals are taken to make purchases or to withdraw as much money as possible from ATMs, often at gunpoint. The Embassy has received multiple, credible reports that individuals with what appear to be official uniforms or other credentials are involved in facilitating or perpetrating these crimes "-"