Category: South America

Venezuela Travel Warning

Venezuela Travel Warning

According to youremailverifier, the Venezuelan government declared a state of emergency on the entire country on May 13, 2016. Violent clashes broke out during political protests. Given this current situation and the ongoing economic and supply shortages in the country, non-urgent travel to Venezuela is not recommended.

The following tourist destinations are excluded from this if they are visited as part of organized trips: Los Roques, Roraima, Canaima National Park, Isla Margarita and the Amacuro Delta. It should be noted that despite the start of the rainy season, there are still failures in the supply of drinking water and electricity throughout the country. As far as drinking water is available, it is not provided in the quality that is usual in Germany. This also leads to restrictions in the health and tourism sector. The medical care situation in Venezuela is deteriorating. Adequate treatment of emergencies in particular – e.g. in the course of traffic accidents – is not guaranteed everywhere and at all times.

Due to the deteriorating economic and supply situation, there are more and more demonstrations, some of which are announced and some of which arise spontaneously, especially in the cities. Firearms have also been used repeatedly in these in the past. Travelers are advised to pay close attention and are strongly advised to stay away from demonstrations and large crowds.

With regard to the widespread, high level of violent crime, to which foreigners also repeatedly fall victim, special care is required.

Germans who are in the country and have not yet entered the embassy list of Germans are advised to register electronically at External Link, opens in a new windowhttp: //elefand.diplo.de in order to prevent the security situation from deteriorating to be centrally accessible. This service can also be used by German citizens who only stay in the country for a short period of time.

Country-specific safety information

Demonstrations

It is strongly recommended that you stay away from crowds and demonstrations and that you follow media coverage and this travel advice regularly and carefully.

Border area with Colombia

Travel to the border area with Colombia is not recommended. In the areas along the Colombian border, particularly in the Venezuelan states of Amazonas, Apure, Barinas, Táchira and Zulia, there is still an increased risk of kidnappings and other violent crimes as a result of the Colombian internal conflict.

We also advise against leaving the country by land to and from Colombia. Temporary closings of the border with Colombia can be ordered at short notice at any time. Experience shows that border closings sometimes result in extremely long waiting times.

Holiday Island Margarita On the Holiday Island Margarita there is a risk of armed robbery, also in hotel complexes and during accompanied and organized group excursions. The center of Porlamar should be avoided especially after dark.

Piracy Sailors should note that robberies on anchored ships or ships close to the coast or cases of piracy along the Venezuelan coast occur sporadically and take appropriate measures (caution with spontaneous guests on board, self-protection at night).

Crime

The high crime rate in Venezuela poses a significant risk to both individual and group travelers. Kidnappings to extort money and armed attacks have increased. Germans were also affected. Street crime in large Venezuelan cities, especially Caracas, remains high. Violent crime and assaults can also be expected outside of the cities, for example on country roads.

In the past, during controls by uniformed officers (police, military) in the city, during roadside checks and even at the airport, travelers were robbed by uniformed controllers or forced to pay or exchange money. If possible, travelers should only hand over a copy of their passport and not the original document during such checks.

It is strongly advised to observe the following guidelines:

  • Driving in the dark should be avoided for safety reasons. Especially on the highway between the airport and Caracas, there were several attacks during the dark. Passengers are therefore generally advised not to use this route at night.
  • Travelers should not hitchhike or camp.
  • On excursions without a local tour guide, travelers should find out exactly which places are absolutely to be avoided (e.g. poor areas, the so-called “barrios”).
  • On arrival at Caracas Airport, there have been attacks in the past involving uniforms and taxi drivers. In the arrival hall of the airport, travelers should therefore in particular not accept transport offers from alleged taxi drivers or persons who appear to be authorized, but should only use the official airport taxis that are waiting in front of the arrival hall.
  • When using taxis and buses, you should only choose vehicles in good technical condition that are in radio communication with their company headquarters. Taxis or minibuses can also be used, as recommended by the hotel. There is a high risk of robbery when using supposedly cheaper taxis and buses.
  • If, despite all precautionary measures, an armed attack does occur, it is recommended that you do not resist.
  • Money should only be exchanged at the designated counters.
  • Valuable objects or large amounts of money should not be carried; this also applies to the journey to and stay at the airport on departure.

Greater caution is advisable when using credit / debit cards, as there are always cases of fraudulent debits.

Venezuela Travel Warning

Peru Everyday Life

Peru Everyday Life

Everyday life in Peru

The day usually starts early in Peru. In the country, there is a mate tea for breakfast, along with bread and mote, which are boiled corn kernels. The main meal is at noon. The people here traditionally live in huts made of unfired, air-dried mud bricks, the adobes. Not only here, but also in the townhouses, there is rarely heating – and it can get very cool in the highlands! It is also often windy.

The Indians wear their traditional, colorful clothing. The colorful, hand-knitted hats with ear flaps are called chullos. They not only serve as protection against the cold, but above all as protection against the sun, which shines powerfully in the high mountains of the Andes.

It’s much quieter in the country than in the city. In Lima or Cusco there is often traffic chaos. Although there is poverty and slums in Lima too, overall life here is more like what you know. There are shopping centers and cinemas, parks and restaurants.

Panpipe music is very popular in Peru, and people also like cumbia. Almost every Peruvian is a member of some dance group, including boys and men! Folk dance groups perform at all celebrations and festivals.

And what are the names of the children in Peru?

Particularly popular boy names in Peru are Luis, Alberto, Edgar, Martín, Alejandro, Jorge, and Daniel. You know some of them from Germany. Alejandro is the Spanish version of Alexander. Girls are often called Elisabeth, Rosa, Carmen, María, Patricia, Daniela and Adriana.

Most Peruvians have Spanish surnames such as Flores, Sánchez, Rodríguez or García. But there are also names from the Quechua language. Quispe and Huamán are particularly common. The name Mamani comes from the Aymara. Each child is given two surnames: that of the father and that of the mother. Two are also often chosen for the first names.

Questions and Answers

What is the favorite drink of Peruvians?

The favorite drink of Peruvians – at least in the Andes – is Chicha morada (pronounced: Chicha morada). It is made from a variety of corn that is purple. This maize also grows mainly in the Andes. The whole corn on the cob is boiled in water with pineapple and quince peels as well as cinnamon and cloves. Then you cool everything down, add sugar and lemon juice if you like and finally serve the chicha cold with apple pieces. Mmmh!

Why do Peruvians wear hats with ear flaps?

Long before the Europeans came to South America, the knitted earflap cap was the traditional headgear in the Andes. We also call it the Inca hat. Originally, the chullo was only worn by men. The pattern in which the hat was knitted even said something about the person wearing it, for example what social position he was in.

Above all, the chullo naturally keeps you warm and your ears are protected at the same time! At the same time, however, it also offers protection from the wind and the sun, which shines strongly at high altitudes. Because in the Andes it is quickly warm in the sun during the day, but as soon as the sun is gone, it gets really cold.

Is it true that people in Peru eat guinea pigs?

Guinea pigs are actually on the menu of Peruvians. The animals that are popular with us as pets originally come from South America, where they live both in the grasslands and in the mountains. Just as we eat meat from deer or wild boar, in Peru and other countries you eat guinea pigs. Your name is Cuy here. However, they are no longer hunted, but specially bred in order to then grill them. It takes a bit of getting used to for us that the animals are put on the plate as a whole.

What is Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu is one of the biggest attractions for tourists in South America. It is an old Inca city. Machu Picchu (pronounced: Matschu Piktschu) means “ancient summit” in Quechua (the language of the Inca and their descendants). The city is located in the middle of the mountains at an altitude of 2360 meters. You can still see today where the Inca had fields, because they laid these fields in terraces below the city.

The city was only rediscovered in 1911. The explorer Hiram Bingham from the USA came across the ruins overgrown by the jungle during an expedition. In the following years the city was exposed again. Today, an average of 2000 visitors come to Machu Picchu every day. This rush endangers the preservation of the old Inca site and a limit is requested.

Machu Picchu

History of Brazil from Independence until Today

History of Brazil from Independence until Today

Brazilian independence 1822

In 1807 the Portuguese king fled Napoleon’s troops and went to Brazil. In 1815 Brazil was equated with the mother country and in 1821 the king returned to Portugal. This period is also called the Kingdom of Brazil (1808-1821). The king gave Brazil to his son Pedro I in 1821, who declared Brazil independent a year later and declared himself emperor.

Empire of Brazil (1822-1889)

As Pedro I he now ruled Brazil. But in 1831 there was a military uprising and Pedro had to abdicate. He returned to Portugal and handed the throne over to his son, Pedro II. He was only five years old, but remained Brazil’s ruler until 1889.

The economy flourished, and coffee and rubber became important products sold in Europe. Pedro II also had roads, rails and telephone lines built. Allied with Argentina and Uruguay, Brazil defeated Paraguay in a bloody war (Triple Alliance War 1865-1870).

In 1889, however, there was a coup led by the military. Pedro II still stood for the old colonial power Portugal. Another reason was that Pedro campaigned for the abolition of slavery. This led to resistance from the large landowners. While Pedro was in Europe, his daughter Isabella passed a law in 1888 that abolished slavery. The emperor’s support from the large landowners was gone. Brazil became a republic.

Rubber boom

In the reign of Pedro II. Brazil’s economy flourished. The rubber boom started in 1870. From the resin of the rubber tree one could make rubber since 1839. Rubber became an important raw material in the growing industry in Europe. In order to extract rubber, the trees have to be scratched so that the rubber, that is the milk sap of the tree, flows out.

In Brazil, the indigenous population in particular was forced to do this work. The village of Manaus on the Amazon became the center of the rubber trade and grew into a large city. The rubber boom ended around 1920 after the seeds of the carriage tree were smuggled into England, where they grew into little trees that were shipped to Asia. There succeeded plantations to create and so Asia was the new center of the rubber trade.

“Old Republic” (1889-1930)

The coup against the emperor was led by the military Manuel Deodoro da Fonseca. He became the first president of the new republic. Brazil was divided into federal states. The period up to 1930 is also called the “old republic”. The country was politically stable. Although the rubber trade declined, coffee and sugar cane were still important products. During the First World War, however, coffee prices collapsed.

Getúlio Vargas (1930-1945) and the following period until 1964

Resistance arose against the rule of the rich coffee plantation owners. The population felt excluded and disadvantaged. Getúlio Vargas led a revolt and came to power. In 1937 he proclaimed the “new state” (Estado Nuevo). He ruled dictatorially and the country was again centrally ruled. Although he also campaigned for workers’ rights, he was a staunch opponent of communism.

In 1945 Vargas allowed elections and did not run again himself. Several presidents followed at short intervals. Vargas himself was re-elected in 1950 and remained in office until 1954.

In 1961 João Goulart became president. The economic situation was difficult at the time, there were many illiterate people in the country and inflation was high. Goulart tried to implement land reform, which fueled fear of communism. He also fought against illiteracy. In 1964 the military staged a coup, supported by the USA.

Military dictatorship (1964-1985)

Marshal Branco was installed as the new president. Several laws consolidated the power of the military. Political opponents were persecuted, the press censored and new parties were banned. Marshal Costa e Silva, General Médici and General Geisel followed as presidents. A cautious democratization began under Geisel, which General Figueiredo continued. He was President of Brazil from 1979 to 1985. The problems were great: Brazil was in debt and suffered from inflation and corruption. In 1985 free elections were finally allowed.

Democracy (since 1985)

Inflation and corruption remained a problem even among the new democratically elected presidents. In 1991 Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay founded Mercosur. In this common internal market, for example, customs duties will no longer apply. Mercosur strengthened the economy of its member countries. People could buy less and less for their money, so the currency was reformed. This means that the money was worth more in the end.

Fernando Henrique Cardoso ruled from 1995 to 2003, under which the national debt rose again. In 2003 Lula da Silva was elected President. He is a member of the PT (Partido dos Trabalhadores) workers’ party and remained in office until 2011. The Fome Zero program was launched to combat hunger and poverty. Economically, Brazil showed high growth for years. After two terms in office, Lula da Silva could no longer run for election.

Dilma Rousseff, also from PT, became the new President of Brazil in 2011. The economy grew more slowly now. She did not continue Lula da Silva’s social policy. In 2013 there were massive protests against the government. Also corruption was accused Rousseff. Nevertheless, she was re-elected and began her second term in 2015.

In May 2016, proceedings were initiated against Dilma Rousseff that removed her from her position. So she was deposed as president. Temporarily, Michel Temer took over the office. He was then elected President in August 2016. The 2018 elections had to be decided by a runoff, which Jair Bolsonaro won. He has been the President of the Republic since January 1, 2019. He is considered right-wing populist and repeatedly expresses himself hostile to women or racist.

History of Brazil