Hugo Chavez wants to rename Angel Falls

Standing at a height of 3212 feet, Angel Falls is the tallest waterfall in the world. Located in southern Venezuela’s Canaima National Park, the falls are a UNESCO World Heritage site and are named for Jimmie Angel, an American pilot who first spotted them from the air back in 1933. He would later bring photos to the world of that astounding sight, making the falls famous across the globe. Now, however, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is looking to rename the falls, restoring their indigenous name.

Amongst the local Pemon people, Angel Falls is known as Kerepakupai-Meru, which means “waterfall of the deepest place” in their tribal language. On his weekly television show, Chavez, who has a contentious relationship with the United States, asked his countrymen how they felt about the falls being named after the American aviator, and then proposed the change after fumbling with the pronunciation a few times. The Venezuelan President went on to say that the landmark, which is one of his country’s biggest tourist attractions, had been seen by many indigenous people before Angel ever arrived on the scene. He concluded his declaration by saying “No-one should refer to Angel Falls any more.”The falls are fed by the Kerep River, which plunges over the side of the Auyan-tepui. The drop is so massive, that strong mountain winds actually atomize the water before it reaches the ground, turning into a fine mist. That mist does reform at the bottom however and continues the flow of the Kerep, which eventually empties into the Churun River further down stream.

Despite the fact that the falls are a major draw for tourists, there are few resources available to make it an easy place to visit. Going to the falls requires a flight to Canaima camp, where visitors can board small wooden boats during the rainy season, and approach the falls from below. Those that make the trip, are treated to quite the natural wonder.

The current name for that natural wonder is now open to debate.


Family Guy cartoon banned in Venezuela

I think we’d all agree that there are some bad TV re-runs out there that deserve to be taken off the air. But I’m not sure that Family Guy is one of them.

Venezuelan authorities have banned the cartoon from future broadcast. Any TV station that doesn’t drop the show will be fined.

What prompted this reaction? The recent episode in which Brian, the talking dog, started a campaign to legalize marijuana.

Watch out future cartoons, so you don’t offend the Venezuelan government! It has happened before, and it will surely happen again. The Simpsons was banned there last year because of its “messages that go against the whole education of boys, girl, and adolescents.”

Televen was one station threatened with a fine for showing The Simpsons in the morning hours. What did they do to avoid the fine? They were forced to show public service films as an apology. And they replaced The Simpsons with Baywatch.

Really, now. Baywatch is better?

It seems as though the government and TV in Venezuela are closely linked. President Hugo Chavez hosts his own talk show. And if new regulations go into effect, cable stations would be forced to broadcast all of Chavez’s speeches.



Venezuela to Change Time Zone by 30 Minutes

In October, Venezuelan clocks will be set at Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) minus 4-1/2 hours, compared to the previous GMT minus four hours. This move by president Hugo Chavez is one of many recently in his drive to achieve a socialist state. The time change, Science and Technology Minister Hector Navarro argues, seeks “a more fair distribution of the sunrise,” which would particularly help poor children who wake up before dawn to go to school. “There have been very rigorous scientific studies that have determined that … the metabolic activity of living beings is synchronized with the sun’s light,” he says. Navarro also suggested that the government will be announcing additional measures to make better use of time. I can’t imagine what might be next… a 26-hour workday?