When I heard that a walking gravestone out of Oakland had predicted The Rapture for May 21st, I figured it would be wise to get the hell outta San Francisco (which surely would burn) and make my way to the divine nation of Venezuela. Sure, there was a 99.99% chance The Rapture was going to be bullshit (I know nothing about statistics), but there was a very small chance that a whole mess of people I don't care much for would ascend to the Heavens and I would be forced to spend my final days doing formerly-controlled substances, taking the Lord's name in vain, financing abortions and all that good stuff heathens enjoy until we all burned one October morning, never knowing if the Giants could pull off a second championship. I figured that time might as well be spent in South America.
Anyway, there's a lot I could say about Venezuela and its socialist oil dictatorship. Never once did I see someone beg for money, I only spotted a handful of homeless people throughout my travels, it costs $00.0625 USD to ride the subway (which runs more frequently and more reliably than San Francisco's offerings), there was very little visibility from Coca-Cola (but Pepsi was all over the place), their Four Loko ripoffs continue to be legal (and disgusting), and the relative lack of McDonald's and other American fast-food chains would make our City Hall enraged with jealously. That said, there's no good vegan food down there (outrage!), Caracas is among the dirtiest places I've ever been, the corruption is apparent as soon as you walk off the plane, and once you're in the country, everyone who can get their hands on you will fleece you for cash when you try to leave.
Beautiful sunsets and having to hand over money to seven motherfuckers just to exit the country aside, perhaps one of the more interesting aspects of Venezuela's government and culture was its propaganda (which, regrettably, I did not photograph very much of). Advertisements toting the benefits of socialism line major transportation hubs, billboards announcing the repair of a bridge or repaving of a highway are dominated by Hugo's face and proclimations that these repairs are a byproduct of socialism, and government-sponsored murals celebrating socialism and deriding the United States decorate capital buildings and subway stations. The friendly, cultural murals of San Francisco these are not: Caracas murals depict the beheading of Hillary Clinton, glorify revolutionary figures, and give props to the government and symbols of Venezuelan nationalism.
On the flip, the city is also littered with pro- and anti-government tags. Seemingly every phone booth in the capital has some disparaging comment about Chavez in it. One block will be covered in tags celebrating Castro, Che, the Cuban Revolution, Venezuelan socialism, and the hammer and sickle, while the next block will have a building-long rant against Chavez. Others take their messages to walls lined with security cameras and topped with electric fences that protect foreign embassies and the rich from the world around them:
And, if case you were wondering, not every mural is politics and a depiction of Obama at a nuclear SantaCon: