Local Customs in Venezuela

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Local Customs and Culture in Venezuela

Working hours are usually from 8:00AM to 12:00PM and from 1:00PM to 5:00PM, or from 9:00AM to 12:00PM and 2:00PM to 6:00PM. (8 hours per day, and from 1 to 2 hour(s) of lunch time). Most banks close at 3:30PM, except the ones located at shopping malls (as Sambil, C.C.C.T, etc) work after 3:00PM but probably will make a little charge by the transaction. Also in December when they stay open an extra hour to deal with the holiday rush. 

Most Venezuelans are laid-back regarding racial issues, since white or creole persons blend naturally with natives and Afro-Venezuelans in everyday life (education, living, politics, marriage). So the word "negro" can be used regardless of who's saying it, or who is being referred to in this way. Expressions like "negrito" or "mi negro" are often used as a term of endearment. You could hear someone calling "negra" to a woman, regardless of the race of the person. And in general, Afro-Venezuelans don't find it offensive, as they are simply variations on the Spanish word for "black". Similarly, don't be offended if someone calls you "flaco" (thin) or "gordo" (fat) as these may also be used fairly indiscriminately, and often as a term of friendliness.

Differences between Brits, Americans, or Europeans are not perceived by most Venezuelans. Hence, you can expect to be called "gringo" even if you are, say, Russian. Don't let this offend you as a non Spanish-speaking visitor.

Venezuelans, like Colombians and Panamanians, have a very amusing way of pointing to objects by pouting their lips and lifting their chin, so don't assume that people are blowing kisses to you when you ask for directions. Neiter, do not be offended if people stare at you, remember, you may look different, and maybe stranger . The fact is, you can appear to be in the spotlight for a short period of time, only to be ignored after the other person satisfy his/her curiosity.

Another important point to be kept in mind is that the Venezuelan society is severely split between "Chavistas" (those who support President Chavez) and "Anti-Chavistas" (those who oppose him), so it is strongly advisable not to talk about him and/or his politics unless you are sure on which side your Venezuelan friends are. 

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