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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  1. Same case of mismanagement we have seen over and over again. Let them blow the circus away and perish, I really couldnt care about it anymore.

  2. If you have ever been in a Venetur hotel you will understand what socialist incompetence really is.

    I would never stay in one again.

  3. Just for balance, you should know that George Galloway, a famous leftist member of Parliament in Britain, regularly faces difficulties and cancellations when booking venues for Party rallies and meetings. Usually the local politicians try to bully the owners of the venues, and often succeed.

    • Yoyo:

      So we agree: Bullying is wrong, specially if it is carried out using governmental resources that, by definition, belong to all citizens alike. And that is true regardless the victim is Laureano Marquez, Emilio Lovera, George Galloway or Cort Greene.

  4. A key part of socialism is a planned econo and workers control, which is what Venezuela does not have yet or those hotels, so Island canuck lets call it what it is, as a capitalist grouping.

    As for losing ones job that’s wrong and if I was working their I would have been fired long ago for being a real socialist but then again it has happened to me many times here in the land of Robber baron’s, even the FBI has on a few occasions have gone to my employers who knew what and who I was and encouraged them to let me go and I’m a good worker.

    • Cort : A relative of mine was a high ranking army official at the times of Perez Jimenez dictatorship , there were officials who were known to have ‘democratic’ sympathies and the pressure was there to dismiss them from Service, my relative and others succesfully defended their remaining on the Servicce , because they were good officials and their political views didnt matter, Years ago I worked in a state entity and it became known that one of our colleagues was being nominated for congress by an extreme left wing radical group, even though the nomination raised comments , the managements position was that he wouldnt be bothered , and he wasnt !! There are decent people in every system , even in those which you condem . We all would welcome people in the Chavez regime having the same kind respectful attitude toward their political opponents .

    • Cort Greene:

      See my answer to Yoyo above.

      On the other hand:

      a) Could you tell me one, just one place in the Earth where planned economy and workers control kept a sustainable economy, where the life quality of their citizens really improved in the long term?.

      b) Could you tell me one, just one country in the world where the all-important Marx predictions held out, i.e., that the accumulation of capital from industrial activities led to the revolt of the workers and revolution? (Hint: The countries you are probably thinking of now, like for instance Russia, China and Vietnam, where all pitifully underdeveloped, not industrialized, low-capital and feudal-style states when their revolutions broke out, so they have never fit Marx predictions).

      c) Could you tell me one, just one country in the world where they tried planned economy and it didn’t crashed and burned tragically, so they backpedaled? (like Russia, China and Vietnam).

      d) Could you tell me one, just one country in the world that is relatively important and big (let’s say, more than 40 million), where a “classical” revolution (a la Cuba) has been successful in grabbing power since the Vietnam war, 38 years ago next May?.

      e) Could you tell me one, just one country in the world that is regarded as a successful example of socialism (like the Scandinavian states) that doesn’t have a relatively tiny population, a very big per capita income, and open market rules, so in reality is not more than a “paternalist capitalist” state in disguise?.

      f) Could you tell me one, just one country in the world that has successfully developed in the last 25 years, like Taiwan, South Korea or Chile, and that didn’t embrace open markets and globalization to achieve so?.

      g) Could you explain me why 9 of the 10 worst polluted places in the world belong to countries that once tried planned economies? (the other place is in an underdeveloped country).

      h) If you are able to come up with such a mythical, not miserable and heavy polluted planned economy country, could you tell me why you are not living there?.

      • So you’re blaming communism for Beijing’s current pollution? Is communism also responsible for the giant islands of garbage floating in the oceans? Is global warming a communist problem too?

        • Yoyo:

          Just a cursory search shows that Beijing’s pollution problems started well before China fully developed more open market reforms… that huge number of old, inefficient coal-based power plants were not built overnight, you know?.

          And given that you raise the issue, having garbage island in the oceans is bad, and must be avoided and rectified, but having almost a WHOLE SEA disappear is a lot, A LOT, worse, don’t you think?:

          • Yoyo:

            Oh, I see, you dropped the Beijing pollution and the Aral Sea issue, and now is the turn for global warming.

            Those evil North Americans and Western European capitalist fat cats, responsible for all those CO2 emissions…

            … but oh!, this can’t be!: Those oligarchs have been aggressively reducing their CO2 emissions and now account for barely a third of the global emissions, and going down!. Capitalist conspiracy!!!.


            The global warming issue is serious enough and dealing with it with idiotic ideological postures doesn’t help a bit.

            In a nutshell, we now have over 2.6 billion human beings in the Asia-Pacific region struggling to get out of misery. If they all install just one electric bulb in their houses, we have a over a half million new, previously unaccounted for, electric bulbs. Just by installing a second bulb the increase in demand is mind-blogging because of their sheer numbers. Oh, that insatiable quest for capitalism for having that extra light bulb!.

            Just one computer per every 20 people, consuming a meager 100 Watts, mean an electric demand for 13 Gigawatts, or 1.25 times a fully-working Guri dam, the third largest in the world!!!.

            In sum: If you really, really, really want to help, toss aside that ideology book of yours and look for a calculator and a pragmatic way to approach very thorny problems.

          • The vast, vast, vast majority of economic activity contributing to global warming in the world today is undertaken in the name of the profit/growth imperative.

          • The real solution has existed for fifty years, nuclear power. Sadly for humanity, Cort Greene types helped shut down an entire generation of nuclear plants in the US and Europe. France has the lower per Capita carbon emissions than China, and a much higher standard of living thanks to nuclear power.

          • Actually you are wrong Yoyo. The largest consumers of electricity are residential users, especially in warmer climates where huge amounts are used for air conditioning. Residential users don’t make a profit on their electricity consumption!

          • the crux of the matter is that these socialist poets dropped a step in math, early on, and never regained it. Numbers baffle them, as do realities.

        • yoyo,

          Don’t change the subject. If you are going to jump to Cort’s defence (since he can’t seem to defend himself), answer Dago’s questions above.

    • Dude if the FBI was going to your employers getting you fired you probably should not have been fired. Your employer probably had a duty to ensure you were provided assistance for your mental health.

  5. There are two messages here , first if a business belongs to the state, it belongs to all citizens and , everyone has the right to use it provided its activities are lawful , making fun of the regime is distasteful to the government but not unlawful therefore preventing its use by a comedy team that makes fun of the regime should be allowed , not allowing it is a sigh of sectarian discrimination ,,an abuse of government and as such should be condemned . Second the government has a duty to manage state owned business , which belong to all citizens , including those in the opposition , with competence and care , if it mismanages the business causing it to run up very heavy losses then its in breach of its duties and deserves condemnation . There is a deeper message in this blog , Winning an election gives the regime no unfettered arbitrary right to impose its prejudices on government run businesses , neither does it extend regime appointed managers a license to mismanaged what is put in their trust, the current regime seems to feel that this is so, that winning an election make its opponents into second class citizens if not into pariahs and criminals , that winning an election gives them the right to persecute , insult, bully, disparage the dignity and exclude their opponents from public life !! this aberration is rooted in the primitive notion that political contests are the equivalent of war and that therefore wining an election , under a democratic system entitles you to become your opponents persecuter and abuser. It is this desfigurement of democracy that by transforming it into a vehicle of tyranny deprives it of legitimacy and respect .

    • Bill, I love your posts, but please, try to format your texts by separating your paragraphs, I tell you this because I like you a lot (K). Other than that, Yeah, Its pretty sad how the government is trying (and in many cases succeeded) to make opposition to the regime into something akin to burning the venezuelan flag.

      • Hal thanks for the observation, will try and improve the formatting as per your suggestions. Sorry for my past blunders !!

  6. Just so happens the first time I was in Venezuela besides meeting with many different parties and going to lots of areas I when to visit the workers at Sanitarios Maracay who had just taken over the factory from a corrupt capitalist who owned it and tried to enforce workers control, over time the labor ministry, different unions and sects and even a labor boss/ultra leftist who had taken money from a foundation with ties to the CIA ( Orlando Chirinos) did everything they could to sabotage, delay and ruin the takeover and they did for awhile but after years of struggle and international solidarity, it is now under workers control.

    And it takes time but Venezuela in many areas is more democratic than the rest of the world and certainly better than the US.

    • “a labor boss/ultra leftist who had taken money from a foundation with ties to the CIA ( Orlando Chirinos)”
      Please, be nice and share the evidence you have with us. Or should I file that under “Crazy conspiracy theories, CIA”. After the whole “CIA gave Chavez cancer” the file is a bit crowded, but I guess I can make some space for it somehow…

      • Orlando Chirinos spoke at a conference on the question of “trade union autonomy” organised by the Friederich Ebert Foundation ( German SPD which receives funding from many groups including the CIA which goes all the way back to the 1950’s and has done it in many other countries like Spain, think of it as a German version of the the US NED program, another CIA front as are many NGO’s ) and was paid to speak at on the same platform as the counter-revolutionary CTV plus he politic’s have nothing to do with Marxism always attacking the government from the ultra left and sound more like many on this blog..

        Many know this sorry you missed, eh.

        • A. Barreda:

          There you have your “evidence”, pal!. Didn’t you know that all the people and institutions that oppose planned economy are counter-revolutionary CIA front-ends?… tú no estás en nada, pana… asking for evidence, what a nerve!!!.

          By the way, I should have my CIA check somewhere, just let me find it…

    • Cort Greene:
      Must have given you such a surge to find that “corrupt capitalist” factory owner vanquished in favor of the workers at Sanitarios Maracay. But I have a questions, wondering if you can answer simply and directly.

      How much did your organization inve$t in the takeover?
      What is your organization?
      And how are the workers managing now? Production up? Sales up? Profits reinvested?

      Do tell, when you have a moment. Thanks in advance.

  7. Is the US a state of Venezuela? Just wondering what it has to do with this discussion. In any case, loss is irrelevant, in the irresponsible bolivarian state, earnings are capitalistic and losses will be paid somewhere down the road. This is what is happening in all state enterprises. In Guayana the losses are mounting in the billions and nobody worries in the Government.

  8. moctavio, in case you have not noticed there are over 400 US companies in Venezuela and even to this day the US views América Latina as its backyard via the Monroe Doctrine( if not the whole world)..

    It is irresponsible for sure, that’s why the revolution must be completed” you can’t make half a revolution” and once again the workers care in Guayana and many other places and have been saying such in words and actions!!!

    • “the revolution must be completed”

      Wow, Cort Greene can for sure talk the talk, but can he walk the walk? He’s constantly writing nonsense about the revolution from his ivory tower, but he prefers the bourgeois comforts of the US over getting his hands dirty fighting the good ol’ fight in the trenches.

      You should come down to Venezuela and teach us all that revolutionary stuff by example. As the Che once said: “La revolución se lleva en el corazón para morir por ella y no en la boca para vivir de ella”.

      • Been walking the walk since the 1970’s when on Sept 11th the US overthrew Allende.
        Been beat up by the Moonies, Stalinists, ultra leftists and others, lost jobs, lost friends and family over it and positions of influence and still I struggle to live, work and do solidarity in the belly of the beast and not just for Venezuela but many countries..

        Also have fought the Klan, Nazi’s, SWATS, JTTF and others in the real sense of the word.
        I have visited your beautiful country and will come again, others keep saying what you have been but have failed to help me with $ to get their, all talk I guess….

        • Blah blah blah. All talk and no walk… QED
          I’ll buy your trash talk when you give actual proof of your fantastic stories.

          In the mean time, you’re nothing but just another member of the gauche caviar that believe that a 4-week guided tour in Venezuela is the same as struggling against real poverty, crime and the failures of a corrupt government on a daily basis.

        • Why don’t you put an ad on Aporrea to collect donations?

          I take it you prefer rabble-rousing (under some banner akin to “socialist workers of the world unite”) and getting your kicks for mentally overturning the social order, rather than working to earn the funds to travel to Venezuela, on your own steam.

          Here’s an idea: Start a blog with advertisements. Think of all the other factories you can save away from “corrupt capitalist owners” — the world over.

          Damn, why isn’t long-distance travel free? You might want to change that, too, while you’re at it.

        • “Also have fought the Klan, Nazi’s, SWATS, JTTF and others in the real sense of the word,”= Our own CC Socialist/Communist Revolutionary Rambo.

    • The workers are servants in this revolution, their collective contracts have not been negotiated for years, so I am not sure what you are talking about, the Bolivarian revolution could care less about unions and workers.

      As to your 400 US companies, so, what? There are 45 Swiss ones, which when you compare the two countries, seems like we should be worried about the Swiss.

  9. Gustavo, Are the numbers shown (Bsf14 million and 139) correct? They don’t really make much sense.

    Out of curiosity, I went to their web site to check their prices, but the hotel does not have rooms available for the rest of the year. Maybe their computers can tell that I’m not chavista 🙂

    • These hotels have no facility to take reservations from outside the country due to the exchange controls so they just don’t.

      Same applies to the national airlines.
      I spend a lot of time helping people arrange national flights as they would otherwise not be able to make reservations.

    • This is the quote from the original article, which is taken from the Comptroller General’s report: “pérdida acumulada por 13,93 millones de bolívares, lo que representa 139 veces el capital pagado del hotel”.

      “accumulated loss for 13,93 million Bolivars, which represent 139 times the paid-in capital of the hotel”.

      • My thoughts too, the numbers are strange.
        My guess is they messed up the report OR
        Hilton got a real “sweetheart” deal when it got expropriated: take 100 thou or nothing

  10. “el capital pagado del hotel”.”

    I think this refers to the authorized capital of the limited company NOT the price they paid for the hotel.
    At least that’s how I interpret it.

      • I think there is a provision in Venezuelan Law that if losses exceed a certain percentage of a company’s capital, then, the shareholders are under an obligation of either liquidating the company or replacing the loss . The Contraloria takes note of the fact but dares not point out its consequences .

  11. Excuse me? Tourism? What tourist in their right mind chooses Venezuela to travel in? Nothing works, it’s extremely dangerous, and there are serious electrical outages, phones don’t seem to work (at least when I call home they mostly don’t & take a tremendous amount of persistence), there are food shortages, etc etc–what does tourism mean in Venezuela? Am I missing something?


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