Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez passed away earlier this month, sparking a global conversation about the future of this oil-rich South American nation.
But I'm here to tell you not to worry about the Venezuelans: they produce awesome people on such a consistent basis that it's a little terrifying. From sports to art to politics, famous Venezuelans are practically everywhere you look.
You'd do well to remember that it's their world. You just live here.
1. Greivis Vasquez:
Starting point guard for the New Orleans Hornets, this kid averages an absurd 9.3 assists per game, good for third in the NBA. If you don't know basketball, take my word for it: that's a lot. His incredible court vision and manly facial hair set him apart from the competition. The future is bright in the Big Easy with Vasquez at the wheel.
2. Edgar Ramírez:
Photo Credit: Showbiz Cafe
You saw him in Zero Dark Thirty, but this guy really got his time in the sunshine with his brilliant performance as Carlos the Jackal. The talent and charisma is undeniable. It's just a matter of time before he gets the opportunity to be a Hollywood A-lister.
3. Gustavo Dudamel:
Photo Credit: The Telegraph
Take my word for it: besides Kobe Bryant, fewer people are more universally loved in Los Angeles than Dudamel. Through his energy, skill, and enthusiasm, the conductor of the L.A. Philharmonic has achieved what I thought was impossible: he made classical music enjoyable. Here's to many more years blessing the Best Coast with your music, Gustavo.
4. Los Amigos Invisibles:
Photo Credit: It's in Miami
Formed in the early 1990s, this Grammy-winning disco-acid-jazz-funk fusion band revolutionized the Venezuelan music scene. Try NOT dancing when you listen to them, see how far it gets you.
5. Simón Bolívar:
Photo Credit: Famous People
By now, it shouldn't surprise you that the man considered largely responsible for liberating Latin America from Spanish colonial rule was born in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas. But there it is. One of the most influential political figures in American history, Bolivar's birthday is celebrated with equal fervor through Latin America. If this guy's not a badass, I don't know who is.