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article imageOp-Ed: Be the first to know where Snowden goes in Venezuela

By Jerry Nelson     Jul 11, 2013 in Travel
The latest rumor about Edward Snowden's whereabouts have him somewhere in Russia with his next step supposedly Venezuela after receiving an invitation from that country's leaders.
If the NSA leaker accepts the "come-over-to-our-house" invitation he'll have plenty of places in the country to choose from.
With his age, background and experience he just might want to consider Merida.
Merida, is found in the midst of two of Venezuela's Andean mountain chains. Founded twice, first illegally in 1558, and afterwards at a different location as Santiago de los Caballeros de Merida in 1560, Merida is the home of Venezuela's second oldest university, the University of the Andes, established in 1785.
Much more than college students and faculty enjoy the year-round spring like climate. With mountains, including the snow-capped peaks of Pico Bolívar, Pico Humboldt, Pico Espejo and Pico Bompland, which form a portion of the Parque Nacional Sierra Nevada, one of four in the area. There are also 12 state parks. The region is popular with climbers, backpackers, wildlife lovers, birders, and sightseers who enjoy the variety of scenery from lush rainforest, abundant waterfalls to mountain peaks permanently covered with snow, glacier lakes, and páramos, or highland moors reaching from about 3300 m to the snowline. Add the small and tropical Palmarito beach, located on the southeast side of Maracaibo Lake, and there are a dozen or more varieties of climate and geography in the state of Merida.
The fertile valleys between the mountains support agriculture, including coffee plantations, sugar cane, flowers, especially the frailejan which grows only in the altiplano areas of Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador and bloom in November and December. Tropical plants, palm trees, citrus, strawberries, orchids, and the Golden Rain tree grow lavishly. The city, built between and bisected by rivers, maintains 35 parks in its long, narrow stretch. With flat land no longer available, the city now grows up from its base. Earthquakes and revolutionary wars have taken the toll on the city, but it cultivates a pleasant, quiet grace with a number of cultural activities.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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