December 23, 2012

0426 VENEZUELA (Amazonas) – Autana, the island in the sky

Because the stilt houses in the area of Lake Maracaibo reminded Amerigo Vespucci of the city of Venice, he named the region Veneziola ("little Venice" in Tuscan), which became in Spanish Venezuela. Colonized by Spain in 1522, it became full independent in 1830. Since then, like most countries of Latin America, it experienced political turmoil and dictatorships, interrupted only by brief democratic periods after the WWII. Since 1999 it is lead by Hugo Chávez (re-elected for the fourth time on October 2012), rather a character from the novels of Marquez, than a president in flesh and bones. Federal republic consisting of 23 states, Venezuela has an extremely high biodiversity, with habitats ranging from the Andes mountains to the Amazon Basin, via extensive llanos plains, Caribbean coast and the Orinoco River Delta. It is also among the most urbanized countries in Latin Americ, and has some of the largest oil and natural gas reserves in the world.

This first postcard which I received from Venezuela depict Autana, also known as the The Cerro Autana, a spectacular quartzite-sandstone tepuy (table-top mountain) with about 1,250m high, situated in west of the country, near the Colombian border. The local Piaroa Indians revere it as the stump of the tree of life, from which grew all the fruits that sustained for survival of man. Although composed of nearly horizontal strata of sandstone, Autana contains caves and other karst formations, which are rare in rocks other than limestones. One of the cave, made entirely of quartz, measures 400m long and is 45m high crossing from side to side. The inlet ports are opened on a cliff of 800 vertical meters and 150 meters below the top of the hill.

Autana was declared a Natural Monument in 1978, and is known internationally for rock climbing and BASE jumping.

About the stamps
The two stamps is part of the series Coins and Banknotes of Revalued Currency Bolivar, issued on May 7, 2008 and comprising 14 stamps:
• coins and banknotes of revalued currency (0.40 VEF)
• 1centimo coin (0.40 VEF)
• 5 centimo coin (0.40 VEF)
• 10 centimo coin (0.40 VEF)
• 12.5 centimo coin (0.50 VEF)
• 25 centimo coin (0.50 VEF) - it’s on the postcard
• 50 centimo coin (0.60 VEF)
• 1 bolivar coin  (0.60 VEF)
• 2 bolivares banknote (1.00 VEF)
• 5 bolivares banknote (1.00 VEF) - it’s on the postcard
• 10 bolivares banknote (1.50 VEF)
• 20 bolivares banknote (1.50 VEF)
• 50 bolivares banknote (2.00 VEF)
• 100 bolivares banknote (2.00 VEF)

If you look carefully on the postmarks applied on the postcard, you will notice that the date inscribed on the one from Venezuela is May 16, 2012, and the one from Romania is 17 December, 2012, so it reached 7 months after shipment.

Autana - Wikipedia

sender: Luis Moret (direct swap)
sent from Caracas (Capital District / VENEZUELA), on 16.05.2012
photo: Christian Mondin

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