Vegetarianism Around The Globe: Venezuela

In ancient times, these islands were the shelter for both the pirates and the explorers “, says our friend Maria Sabrina de Iturriaga, a 35-year-old manager of a small family-owned pasteleria (pastry shop) from Caracas (capital city). When they ran into a storm in the sea, here they took cover.

Venezuela is located at the northern coast of South America, where the continent meets the Caribbean Sea. The Caribbean Sea bathes the northern coast together with its more than 300 lovely islands and islets such as La Tortuga (The Turtle), Los Testigos (The Witnesses) and Los Aves (The Birds).

“In ancient times, these islands were the shelter for both the pirates and the explorers “, says our friend Maria Sabrina de Iturriaga, a 35-year-old manager of a small family-owned pasteleria (pastry shop) from Caracas (capital city). When they ran into a storm in the sea, here they took cover. Pirates were ocean thieves. They roamed the seas in search of plundered riches – – rubies and gold- -which they took from unarmed travelers and undefended ports. Explorers were navigators in search of new land to conquer. They were brave and adventurous men. Today, these island shelters are simply beautiful white sand beaches where birds and sea turtles spawn. “Millions of tourists come to our country every year to experience these paradise islands. I wish the Venezuelan government didn’t have to turn to tourism as a safe economic stake. But I guess the government has no choice. After all, we cannot be highly dependent on our volatile oil income, can we?” she sighs.

Venezuela used to be one of the poorest South American countries but with the discovery of its petroleum reserves in the Maracaibo Basin in the 1920’s, it’s economy drastically changed for the better. However, petroleum prices are ever changing. And an economy based on petroleum production alone can be very unstable. So Venezuela has to rely on tourism. “And it is true- – Venezuela is such a beautiful country- -one of the biggest attractions in South America. That’s why with cheap flights from the US and Europe, visitors keep coming and keep coming back. But I’m a bit of a romantic and sometimes I still wish Venezuela can remain as isolated as when Christopher Columbus found it.” Maria Sabrina says wistfully.

Our friend goes on to say, “In Venezuela, the tropical fruits are so sweet-tasting: mangoes, papayas, breadfruits, oranges, melons, bananas, coconuts, watermelons, guavas, grapefruits. Vegetables are fresh and succulent because of the wide Andean mountain ranges and tropical forests: sweet peppers, potatoes, kohlrabi, lettuce, carrots, asparagus, broccoli, courgette, artichokes, watercress. Grains are bountiful. Root crops are so abundant- -rich and creamy. I think Venezuelan traditional vegetable food is one of the most complete and the healthiest in the world.”

I think Venezuelan traditional vegetable food is one of the most complete and the healthiest in the world.

What you have in your mind?