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Showing posts from November 9, 2014

LIFE IN THE TROPICS : Venezuela Serves Up a Culture Shock for Visiting Saudi Oil Minister


Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez (left) and Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi pose for a photograph that first appeared on the Venezuelan minister’s Twitter feed.

PORLAMAR, Venezuela—With hours-long delays followed by hours-long “coffee breaks,” oil officials from Saudi Arabia on a rare trip to Venezuela this week are getting a crash course on how things work in this “socialist workers’ paradise”: Almost nothing ever runs on time.

Lack of organization is nothing new for people familiar with Venezuela, where long lines, bureaucracy and chaotic traffic are part of daily life. The World Bank recently ranked it 182 out of 189 countries in terms of ease of doing business.

But for Saudi officials attending a climate conference here on the Venezuelan resort island of Margarita, it’s all been a bit of a culture shock.

“When we say 9 a.m., we usually mean 9 a.m.,” 
said one Saudi delegate, stunned—at around 11 a.m.—as he waited for the conference proceedings to open on…