[via Discover Venezuela]
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez recently called for the reorganization of the Caracas airport for a rather curious reason from the mouth of a supposed socialist:
"It's a big airport, how come it does not make a profit?" Chavez said of the Maiquetia airport, which lies on the coast just outside the Venezuelan capital Caracas.
"Cuba's Jose Marti airport gives the Cuban government $100 million each year for its operations, planes coming and going. But Maiquetia gives no profits," he added in a TV address.
"I've told the new (transport) minister to intervene the Maiquetia international airport."
Chavez gave no more details of the problems at the airport that he wanted to root out, but said the measure was necessary to maximize income for the Venezuelan state.
"We need to take control of those airports because we need to look after the economy. We can't keep depending on oil."
Maybe the Caracas Maiquetia Airport doesn't make money because:
1. Caracas has a nasty reputation for high murder rates.
2. Chavez nationalizes every industry he can. Individuals and corporations with lots of money tend to dislike their financial assets getting nationalized and thus avoid investing in countries where this happens.
3. The airport isn't even secure to begin with.
Travel to and from Maiquetía Airport, the international airport serving Caracas, can be dangerous, and corruption at the airport itself is rampant. Both arriving and departing travelers, including foreigners, have been victims of personal property theft and muggings in the airport. The embassy has received multiple, credible reports that individuals wearing what appear to be official uniforms or other credentials are involved in facilitating or perpetrating these crimes. For this reason, U.S. citizen travelers should be wary of all strangers, even those in official uniform or carrying official identification, and should not pack valuable items or documents in checked luggage.
With this in mind, it shouldn't shock anyone that the Caracas Maiquetia Airport is hardly a cash cow.