Last week, the National Assembly approved the Tourism Law, a bill aimed at promoting tourism in Venezuela. Among other things, the Bill compels banks to devote a fixed amount of their loan portfolio to tourism projects. This amount will be set at between 2% and 7% of the loan portfolio of private commercial banks and 12% of that of Government owned banks.
While I disagree with forcing banks to devote a fixed percentage of their loans to a particular area (with this, compulsory lending goes up to 35% of the portfolio), I can not disagree with the goal of turning Venezuela into an attractive tourist destination.
But what is being done with one hand appears to be destroyed by the other. In a strange interpretation of reciprocity, the National Civil Aviation Institute suspended the initiation of flights by American Airlines affiliate American Eagle to Margarita Island in Eastern Venezuela. The reason? The US’ FAA lowered the category of Venezuela’s aviation many years ago, because it did not satisfy the technical and training requirements of that Administration. The main impact of lowering Venezuela’s category is that no new Venezuela airline can begin flying to the US until the minimum requirements are again satisfied. It has been eight years (before Chavez!) since Venezuela was lowered in category and in that time the country has failed to pass the requirements to have the higher category reinstated. Because of that, American Eagle, will not be able to begin its flights between San Juan, Puerto Rico and the island of Margarita.
Who do you think loses with this political decision? I would bet if it were any country other than the US, no retaliation would be made. In fact, Panama decided not to extradite Posada Carriles to Venezuela four years ago and nothing happened between the two countries. other silly emotional decision that damages the country’s credibility.