Specialties are Overrated in Venezuela

Visiting Caracas Venezuela, not realizing the dangerous environment the city has a reputation for, Frank Viviano depicts his experience in an article, “There Are No Specialists in Venezuela,” in the magazine AFAR. Hermann, a resident of Caracas meets with the author of this article and describes the difference in Venezuela from the United States in art. Viviano continues to experience life in Venezuela and how “toderos”- a mix of everything, from careers, to religion, to race, to music, to food, Venezuela really is.

“I spent the entire night listening to the crackle of small firearms in the barrios that spilled over the surrounding hills. Googling at 2 a.m., i discovered that Caracas has the highest homicide rate on Earth, a stunning two dozen times the figure for the gun-crazed United States.”

“The key to understanding Venezuela, the driver had said, is that ‘everything is mixed together.’ Hermann laughed and said, ‘The first time i went to the States, art directors were totally confused by my portfolio. ‘What are you exactly?’ they’d say. I’d been a sculptor some of the time, a commercial illustrator or semi-surrealist painter a lot of the time, and a caricaturist most of the time. I had no idea that artists in other countries specialize.'”

“We call it todero, a mixture of words torero and todos, like a guy who is a bullfighter but also does everything else: todos. All Venezuelans are toderos.”

“Flying over dazzling landscape of seacoast, inland jungle, and vast rolling plains, i continued pondering the cabbie’s allusions to mixing. Its demographics effects were obvious in the faces you saw in the Venezuelan streets. In 2000, according to the latest national census, 67 percent of the population was officially of mixed-race origin. Today, that figure likely tops 70 percent. Venezuela is a cultural and genetic stew that first united indigenous Amazonians with Afro-Caribbeans and Spanish conquistadors and has since added infusions of Italians, Portuguese, Lebanese, and Chinese.”