Venetur Hotels: where politics come first

hotel-venetur-alba-caracasTourism Minister Alejandro Fleming ordered via Twitter that Venetur (State-owned company in charge of tourism services, including 14 hotels across the country) not to hire “…anyone who makes profit by offending the Revolution”.

This swift decision was made after Venezuelan political satirists Laureano Márquez and Emilio Lovera were supposed to have a show in one of Venetur’s hotels in Puerto Ordaz.

Mr. Fleming is used to making this kind of decisions: Last October, after finding out that Venetur’s chain of hotels had a promotion for Halloween, he inmediately shut it down because if promoted “…values different to ours”.

But there’s something Mr. Fleming has not paid enough attention to: the chain of hotels under his watch. For example, the Alba Caracas Hotel (which was the Caracas Hilton until 2010) has a financial loss of almost 14 million Bs., which is 139 times its paid in capital.

The latest report by the Comptroller General’s office also found multiple administrative shortcomings in the way the hotel handles its budget and accountability. Alba Caracas has its share of labor problems, not the least of it owing its workers a lot partly arising from cases of illegal firings.

Workers’ protests have extended to other Venetur hotels, from the Anauco Suites in Caracas to the Maremares in Puerto La Cruz and the former Margarita Hilton. Perhaps Mr. Fleming should focus more on the way Venetur hotels are run and less on the political views of the entertainers they book.

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