For Venezuela’s one percent, a lavish wedding amid crisis

ACARIGUA, Venezuela (AP) — Amid all the turmoil, there’s still time to celebrate for Venezuela’s 1 percenters. The jet setters at a recent destination wedding in the country’s vast tropical plains included a former Miss Universe and an international motivational speaker.

Over three days the guests herded cattle on horseback, emptied bottles of expensive whiskey and stomped their feet to the voice of a popular country music crooner.

“This is not the real Venezuela,” a waiter noted at one point during the back-to-back partying.

But even at this destination reserved for the wealthy in a nation in the throes of economic crisis, reality intruded, at least for a while. A local children’s hospital was in disrepair, and the couple and their guests began by painting its crumbling walls.