(Note that video files can be large, so please be patient while the video you select downloads).
 
 
 

This is a film that I hadn’t previously heard of entitled “People and Petroleum – The CREOLE Story In Venezuela”. It's a 16mm film (924 ft.) that came on a 12” reel. Produced in 1959 by CREOLE, this is not the campy (but interesting) “Assignment Venezuela” film that we’re all so familiar with, but an entirely different film altogether. I can find only a few obscure references to it on the Internet, mainly as catalogue listings from a few university or film libraries. And indeed, this film, which I was fortunate enough to locate & purchase and then convert from 16mm film to DVD, AVI, & FLV formats, came from the University of Arizona/Tucson. Its run length is 25:33 minutes.

The description of the film reads:

A documentary of the history of the oil industry in Venezuela and its impact on every phase of life of the people: social, economic and cultural. Stresses the contrast between the old and new in Venezuela, specifically Maracaibo and Caracas, and the fact that Venezuelans are used for labor and all executive jobs when possible.”

In this documentary, the development of the Venezuelan oil fields is described in considerable detail including facilities in both western & eastern Venezuela and shows many of the facilities and refineries in these areas as well as the corporate headquarters in Caracas. Geologic exploration methods used are discussed, CREOLE housing/school facilities built are shown, and shipping methods & destinations of petroleum products are discussed, among many other topics. The style of the documentary follows the general style of documentaries as produced in the late 1950's.

This film is also available for purchase on DVD for anyone who's interested in doing so. Just refer to the information posted below the movie.

A unique and long-lost link to the past history of CREOLE in Venezuela, I'm happy to be able to present it here. Just click on either of the two images below. (Streaming)

 

 

 

 
 

This video, entitled (in Spanish) “Maracaibo 477th Anniversary - 100 Years of Infrastructure”, examines the influence that petroleum has had in the “evolution of the infrastructure” of Maracaibo. Now this may sound a bit complex, but what makes it so interesting is that it has many good historical photos of the city, even a couple which have been seen here on this website previously.

It also gives a good, professional narration of the influence of oil and the oil companies in the formation of the city. Note that the soundtrack is in Spanish, but for those of you whose Spanish may be a bit rusty, don't despair as it's still well worthwhile watching because of the historical images. (Streaming)

 

 

 

 
 

This is the well-known CREOLE PETROLEUM training film produced in 1956 entitled “Assignment Venezuela”. It was made to introduce CREOLE employees to Venezuela who were considering the move from the U.S.

It often has the air of an old U.S. Army training film, but remember that it follows a cinematic style that was popular in those days. And it has absolutely wonderful, irreplaceable views of Maracaibo and the western oilfields of the mid-'50's as well as of Caracas and the Caracas-La Guaira highway, which was only three years old at the time. So it can be considered a priceless historical record of those progressive, optimistic years in Venezuela. (Streaming-click on Start button lower right of video frame.)

 

 


 

 
 

This spectacular video is a production of Inatur for the promotion of tourism. It's a wonderful compilation of many different, beautiful scenes of Venezuela taken throughout all the different regions of the country. It's one that shouldn't be missed! (20.1 MB)

 

 

 

 
 

This is a great video with scenes around Maracaibo set to gaita music about Maracaibo (12.0 MB)

 



 

 
 

This video short also has a nice embedded slideshow showing recent images of Maracaibo once you get past the bridge video portion. The music took me back in time, reminding me of the typical Venezuelan music we once used to hear all the time. (Streaming)

 




 

 
 

This is one of the later TV commercials produced by VIASA, taped in 1987.

VIASA - Venezolana Internacional de Aviación, Sociedad Anónima - was the only Latin American airline that flew jet aircraft since its creation. It was the result of a government decision in 1959 to transfer the international operations of Venezuela's government airline Línea Aeropostal Venezolana - (AEROPOSTAL) - to a newly-created joint venture which, free from government interference, could adequately perform the task of serving as the nation's flag carrier.

After 30 years, with new government policies adopted in 1989, red ink increasingly flowed, and it became a target for privatization. IBERIA, the Spanish flag carrier, was the favored bidder in August of 1991, competing against KLM, VIASA's past partner. IBERIA apparently milked the airline (some Venezuelans point at this as one of VIASA's causes of bankruptcy) and the Spanish airline itself was nearly bankrupt. While it could be argued that it was not wise to sell a government-owned losing company to another government-owned losing company, changing the old ways of VIASA was an uphill battle.

VIASA sadly ended under acrimony and very sour labor relations in January 1997.

VIASA is remembered fondly by many Venezuelans and foreign passengers who flew with it. There have been attempts to revive the airline, and some of VIASA's routes have been handed over by the Venezuelan Government to other airlines, such as AEROPOSTAL, AVIOR and SANTA BARBARA. AVENSA originally overtook all the existing routes that VIASA operated until it too went bankrupt. (Streaming)

 

 


 

 
 

At the end of the '40's & the beginning of the '50's, Caracas slowly began its metamorphosis from a colonial city to a modern urban metropolis with neighborhoods for all classes. The city slowly expanded eastward from its original downtown area. This transpired under the dictatorship of Pérez Jiménez, who was responsible for much of the impressive modernization of Venezuela, particularly in the early '50's. This was progressive, proud, & highly optimistic era in Venezuela.

It was in this context that the Urbanización Altamira was built. Under the leadership of Don Luis Roche, 110 hectares was acquired from the El Paraíso hacienda, which constituted the base of the new neighborhood. At the time, this location was considered far from Caracas. Roche designed the avenues to a width of 24 meters (78.74 ft.), and built a huge, bueautifully-illuminated plaza with extensive gardens and a tall, svelte obelisk. The obelisk, built by the firm “Martin Hermanos”, it was the first obelisk erected in the metropolitan area that was taller than the Catedral de Caracas.

This video is part of the archive of films owned by Bolívar Films. (10.1 MB)
 



 

 
 

The Caracas-La Guaira highway is a freeway that connects Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, to the port city of La Guaira. It was the primary route between Caracas and the coast. The highway opened in 1953 as a toll road. With two viaducts and two tunnels along its route, the 20-mile highway replaced two tortuous two-lane roads through the mountains and reduced the trip between its endpoints from several hours to half an hour.

One of the viaducts along the route, known as Viaducto #1, was plagued by gradual landslides from the 1980s onward. The bases of the supports shifted toward the center of the span, causing the supports to crack and the span to buckle upward. Venezuelan governments made constant repairs to strengthen the supports and stabilize the span, but did not develop a long-term solution. The government closed the highway as a safety precaution on January 5, 2006. The sudden isolation of Caracas from the coast prompted political accusations by the opposition against Hugo Chávez's government, and by Chávez supporters against previous governments' failure to deal with the problem. A narrow and steep detour around the viaduct opened on February 28, and the viaduct span fell on March 19.

This video, produced during its construction, is filled with optimism as it was the era of the early '50's under Pérez Jiménez during which time the country's infrastructure improved dramatically.

This video is also part of the archive of films owned by Bolívar Films. (11.0 MB)