The name ‘Venezuela‘ is a Spanish word for ‘Little Venice’. This is how the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci sarcastically described the place when he first saw it together with the Spaniard Alonso de Ojeda in 1499. He saw that the local Indians were living in rustic, thatched houses on stilts above the water. And he saw that the settlement was very, very far from the opulence of Venice- – the Italian city where he came from. He and other European explorers however, looked upon this “new” land Venezuela
Christopher Columbus was the first European to set foot on Venezuelan soil. Just the year before, in 1498, Columbus had landed at the western tip of the Peninsula de Paria- opposite Trinidad. At first he thought he had discovered yet another island, but continuing along the coast, he found the wide mouth of the voluminous river- Rio Orinoco. Apparently, he had found something more than an island! He described in his diary that he had found ‘a paradise on earth’.
The foundation of such a paradise lies in Venezuela‘s native people’s ancient tradition- – a tradition rooted in a deep respect for nature, animals and other creatures; a tradition that ruled out feeding on animal flesh. A tradition based on eating the healthy bountiful fruits of the earth.