Exotic South America travel blog

In Caracas, I realized it might not have been the best idea to wear a red T-shirt that particular day, as half of Caracas was wearing red clothing to show support to Hugo Chavez' new communist constitution. The public voting was gonna happen that Sunday, which he eventually lost. I didn't really want to be looked at as a Chavez-supporter, because even though I'm politically left-oriented, I definately don't consider myself a communist.

From Caracas, I took a 12 hours bustrip to San Cristobal de Táchira, in Southwestern part of Venezuela, en route to Santa Marta in Colombia, as all tickets for the shorter route via Maracaibo were sold out. But the bus never made it to San Cristobal. It gave up. It had already had a lot of stops, was already 4 hours behind schedule, and once the engine died, once we had been waiting for an hour, I gave up. I HAD TO get to Colombia, THAT day. The roads were closing the day after. So, I stepped to the side of the road, lifted my finger and started hitching a ride, my second time in South America - this time by myself.

I didn't have to wait long - just 3 minutes and I got a ride with a kind, older man called Pedro. We talked lots on the way. He told me about his brother, who had been kidnapped by the Colombian guerillas. Apparently, the guerilla rebels are having a hard time in Colombia under the presidency of Uribe and many have gone to Venezuela, where they can "work" in peace. The kidnappers had asked Pedro and his family for a $600 USD ransom (which is a lot of money there), which they managed to save up and give the kidnappers, who then sent them a video of his brother and requested another $600 USD, and the brother would not be released unless that money would be paid. The family asked for two days to get the money, but the brother was murdered during that time and ditched by the side of the road. And the money gone. This had happened two months earlier. Perhaps this had not been the best area to try out hitch hiking....

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