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This is the proposal for holding DebConf14 on Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela.

If you are a Local Team Organizer and would like to add something to the proposal, please subscribe to and send your idea there. Someone from the Media Committee will put it here in the right place. Thank You.

You can watch the DebConf12 bid presentation here.


[edit] Local team

There is a very active Free & Open Source Software Community in Venezuela. Several groups that conduct evangelization, support, and development activities in the country are willing to support every single aspect of the DebConf organization.
  • Debian-VE: The local Debian Community helps to organize several events including: DebianDay, MiniDebConf, FLISOL, Document Freedom Day, Software Freedom Day, "Cayapas" Canaima, among many other evangelization activities. Developers & Maintainers from the country are deeply compromised with Debian.
  • Canaima: Canaima is a Debian based distribution that aids in the process of migration to free software in the Public Administration. Currently, there are almost two million laptops and more that one million desktops pre-installed with Canaima. Government institutions like CANTV, VIT, CNTI, CENDITEL, CENIT, - among others -, fund and promote FOSS projects, events and other activities.
  • Ubuntu-VE: There is a large active community of Ubuntu users and developers. Ubuntu-VE has 6 official members with a very strong commitment to the different aspects of the Debian community.
  • Fedora-VE: There's also a very active Fedora community that organized a FUDCon, which took place in Valencia, Venezuela.

[edit] List of Organizers

The following people have confirmed its involvement in the proposal. The majority of them have expirience organizing previous proposals of DebConfs in Venezuela and/or Cayapas Canaima (Debconf-like local event).

  • Jose Luis Rivas (Debian Developer)
  • Muammar El Khatib (Debian Developer, Attended DebConf7 and DebConf8)
  • Alejandro Garrido Mota (Debian Developer, Attended DebConf9)
  • Miguel Landaeta (Debian Maintainer, Attended DebConf11)
  • Juan Angulo Moreno (Debian Maintainer, Attended DebConf8)
  • Ernesto Crespo (Debian Collaborator, Attended DebConf6, DebConf7 and DebConf8)
  • Antonio López (Debian Collaborator)
  • Carlos Silombria (Debian Collaborator)
  • Luis Martínez (Debian Collaborator, Canaima Developer, Attended DebConf12)
  • Héctor Colina (Debian Collaborator, Attended DebConf6, DebConf7, DebConf8, DebConf9 and DebConf12)
  • Orlando Fiol (Canaima Developer, Attended Debconf6, Debconf7 and Debconf8)
  • Alejandra Dugarte (Attended Debconf8)
  • Sasha Solano (Canaima Developer)
  • William Cabrera (Canaima Developer)
  • Erick Birbe (Canaima Developer)
  • Francisco Vásquez (Canaima Developer)
  • Franklin Alberto García Mendoza (Canaima Developer)
  • Juan Bautista Vargas Sucre
  • Carlos José Castillo
  • Samuel Rojas
  • Samuel Persaud
  • Joaquín Muñoz
  • Nehomar Barragán
  • Carlos Parra
  • Nerissa Aguilera
  • Hernán Aguilera
  • Augusto Dávila
  • René Garrido
  • Peter Blanco
  • Carlos Escobar
  • Victor Romero
  • Francisco Hernández
  • Leonardo Caballero
  • José Subero
  • Juan Rodríguez
  • Flamel Canto
  • Juan Mejías
  • Jaime Mora
  • Alexander Labrador

Some of these organizers are already doing plans for attending DebConf13 and are willing to help as logistic personnel.

[edit] Choice of city

"Paseo Colón" cross at dusk.
Puerto La Cruz (map) is a port city, surrounded by the Mochima National Park and base of the Puerto La Cruz Refinery, one of the largest in the country. As a coastal city of the Caribbean, you should expect hot temperatures and no rain at the middle of the year (bring your bermudas!).

Puerto La Cruz is a city designed for tourists. Several large hotels are scattered all around the city, ensuring maximum availability for visitors. The Mochima National Park is spread over an area of 94,935 hectares and its western region is surrounded by some really amazing beaches. Other places such as Playa Conoma, Isla de Plata, Playa Arapito and Isla Arapo are also known for their immaculate beauty.

City streets.
Margarita Island, Coche Island, and other minor islands are relatively near, easily reachable through boat/ship, which make an excellent option for the Day Trip. Watch some of the promotional videos:

Puerto La Cruz is also an academic city. It has several universities that teach technical, engineering, computing and/or information technologies careers, making its students an ideal audience that would potentially come to DebCamp & Debian Day activities at the (proposed) venue, or even host some of the talks. These universities are near the (proposed) venue:

  • UDO - Universidad de Oriente (spanish).
  • UGMA - University Grand Marshal of Ayacucho (spanish).
  • USM - University of Santa Maria (spanish).
  • IUPSM - Polytechnic Institute "Santiago Mariño" (Barcelona) (spanish).

  • Which is the nearest airport?
The General José Antonio Anzoátegui International Airport (map) is located in Barcelona (10km southeast) and it serves Puerto La Cruz. It receives direct flights from Miami and Panama through Avior Airlines. A cab should have no problem in taking you to the venue (30min travel).
Simon Bolívar International Airport (map) is the principal Airport (260km east). It has connections with major destinations in Europe, Asia and America. Then you can take a direct flight to Barcelona or take a bus (6h travel).

  • Are there any cheap airlines flying near the chosen city?
Santiago Mariño Airport in Margarita Island (130km north) receives charter flights from Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Costa Rica and Spain. Then you can take a Ferry to Puerto La Cruz (1h travel), and take a bus or cab to the venue (30min travel).

  • How long does the trip from the airport to the venue take?
We are likely to rent several buses to depart from Simon Bolívar Airport (Maiquetía) and General José Antonio Anzoátegui (Barcelona) at different hours of the arrival days. The bus can take 6h from Maiquetía and 30min from Barcelona.

  • How friendly is your country towards foreigners?
Venezuela has amazing natural resources that make it an excellent touristic destination. People, government and private efforts are well aware of this, which means we will do averything at our hands to make you feel confortable.

  • Visas: Which/how many countries' citizens require getting a visa? How hard (bureaucratic, probable) is it to get it?
Below there is a list of the countries that do not need a visa to enter Venezuela. If your country is not listed, you will have to go to the nearest Venezuelan Embassy or Consulate to get a tourist visa. The procedure of getting a tourist visa implies collecting some personal documents, paying a fee and in some cases, show details and reservations of the event. It might take 1-2 weeks to issue, but you can always "rush it" by paying an extra fee, in which case your visa will be issued within 72 hours.
More information about embassy and consulates near you in this link (spanish).

Andorra Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Australia Austria Barbados
Belarus Belgium Belize Brazil Bulgaria Canada
Chile Costa Rica Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark
Dominica Finland France Germany Greece Grenada
Guatemala Hong Kong Hungary Iceland Ireland Italy
Jamaica Japan Latvia Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxemburg
Malaysia Malta Mexico Monaco Netherlands Netherlands Antilles
New Zealand Norway Panama Paraguay Poland Portugal
Romania Russia Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Vincent and the Grenadines San Marino
Slovakia Slovenia South Africa South Korea Spain Sweden
Switzerland Trinidad and Tobago Turkey United Kingdom United States Uruguay

  • Are there any import regulations, which might affect DebConf? (e.g. a limit to number of notebooks / DVDs / other media you can bring in; hard regulations for money transfers; etc.)
Common items for a DebConf atendee have no regulations. However usual regulations apply to explosives, flammable liquids, toxics, radioactives, corrosives, weapons, knifes, and other dangerous objects.
Venezuela has a currency exchange control. It is illegal for people to exchange dollars, euros, other, for bolívares (official currency), unless is done through official institutions. In the past, the country had large losses of money due to the flight of capital. The government implemented a currency exchange control to protect the internal cashflow. This might become an obstacle in our logistic.
In consecuence, there are a couple of plans that might help to overcome this situation:
  • Option 1: Direct transference to the hotel
DebConf organization may transfer the payment of the hotel costs directly to them. The hotel has accounts outside of the country that can receive this type of payment. Money for the other aspects of the conference might be transferred through options 2 and 3 or through local sponsoring.
  • Option 2: Buy bolívares outside the country through a travel agency or business partner
There are several middle range companies that have operations outside the country, and thus, have accounts in dollars. Debconf local organization might partner up with one of these (travel agencies, FOSS related startups, ...), for them to receive dollars outside and give us bolívares in Venezuela.
  • Option 3: Direct transference in dollars to a local bank
Since last year, venezuelans can open accounts in dollars through local banks. One condition to achieve successful transfers is that a company (legal entity) must open the account.

  • Language: Do most people talk English? How hard is it for a foreigner to find their way around?
Primary language is spanish, but as in any touristic city, many people are very well aware of the need to understand and communicate with foreign people. Personnel of the proposed venue are bilingual. You'll find it easy to get what you need.

  • Smoking: What are the local regulations about smoking?
Smoking is prohibited on public spaces. However, the proposed venue has smoking and non-smoking areas well demarcated.

[edit] Acommodation + Conference Facilities

We have selected Hotel Venetur Maremares as our first option. To minimize transport logistic and cost, we decided to hold both acommodation and conference facilities in the same place. As pointed out in the DebConf12 presentation, the local team has a strong relationship with government institutions, including Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Science and Technology, maximizing the possibilities of negotiating a large discount, and as many sponsoring as we can.

[edit] Option 1: Hotel Venetur Maremares

Location of Hotel Maremares (red shade).
Hotel Maremares is part of a government chain of hotels called Venetur that is located to the southeast of the city (maps). Maremares has a full capacity of 493 rooms, 11 conference rooms, two restaurants and many other useful services:
  • Access to the pools (9:00am - 6:00pm).
  • Access to the gym, sauna & spa.
  • Access to the children parks.
  • Access to tennis & racketball fields (yo have to bring your equipment).
  • Access to the golf field.
  • Private docks.
  • Laundry.
  • Barbershop / Hairdresser.
  • WiFi all across the hotel.
  • Cab service.

  • How much does it cost per person per night?
Maremares double rooms.
Double rooms are 100USD per night. A possible sponsoring by the government might reduce costs to 60-70USD.

  • Is the place where people are going to sleep near the conference facilities?
The conference rooms are 100mt away from the sleeping rooms.

  • Is it able to handle a varying number from 200 to 500 people?
Maremares double rooms.
The hotel has the following capacity:
  • Double rooms: 252
  • Superior rooms: 199
  • Junior Suites: 28
  • Senior Suites: 13
  • Presidential Suite: 1
Making the conference in June-July, assures the hotel will be empty.

  • Is it able to handle non-native speaking people? (i.e. do the people at the sleeping facilities speak English?)
Yes, all personnel are bilingual.

  • Will there be a need of a "Debconf" info-desk, or would the local (hotel or such) people be able to handle that themselves? (See InfoDesk for details on duties)
The hotel reception can handle check-in, check-out and related. There will be an info-desk for the other debconf activities.

  • Will it be possible for couples to stay in their own rooms?
Part of the restaurant.
Yes, children also. There will be special activities with Canaima laptops and proper instructors.

  • How many room keys would be available?
One per room.

  • Are there other hotels around?
Yes. The following hotels are 5min from the venue:
  • Cristina Suites (map)
  • Doral Beach (map)
Other hotels around the venue have to be located and contacted.

  • Are there rooms ready for handicapped people? How many?
There are two rooms specially designed for handicapped people. All the hotel is structured and demarcated according to accessibility standards.
  • How much does it cost to rent these facilities?
An average conference room costs 200USD per day.

  • How far away are the locations from each other? (auditoriums, hacklabs, restaurant, sleeping quarters, info desk)
Maremares locations.
It's all in the same hotel, you'll just have to walk a few meters to reach each location.

  • What kind of places are available suitable for hacklabs, workshops, BoFs and talks?
Traditional conference rooms Maremares and Panache can be used for the talks and BoFs. A special room with panoramic view Al Fresco is going to be used for the hacklab.
The hacklab can stay open 24/7 without requiring a special payment or any other additional logistic.

  • How many people fit in each of them?
Salón Maremares, divided in two.
Salón Maremares has capacity for 800 people.
Salón Panache has capacity for 400 people.
Salón Al Fresco has capacity for 150 people.

  • Can smaller auditoriums be merged into a bigger one?
Salón Panache.
Yes, Salon Maremares can be divided into two conference rooms.

  • Are tables/chairs fixed, or can we arrange them to fit more people/give more room to the people that we need?
Chairs are movable, however the capacity of the rooms will ensure that everyone fits in.

  • Is the venue ready for handicapped people? Note: Keep in mind that it's not only motion-handicapped - Is the area safe for people with any kind of handicap? (There are sight and hearing-impaired people, too.) Bonus: What people is it not good for?
The hotel has according signalization, and people with visual impairment should have no problem following the tile signalization on the floor. There's also ramps, accessible bathrooms, and trained personnel.

  • Access to all areas with ramps and/or elevators? (Note: carrying somebody over some steps is not usually an acceptable option.)
There are ramps all over the hotel.

  • Are there people with experience handling handicapped people, who checked that?
Not quite. The on-site contact team has some experience based on research and documentation.

  • Are blueprints with exact distances available to us (to be kept confidential on request)?
Not yet. It can be arranged with anticipation.

  • What kind of audio equipment is already present at the auditoriums?
There are two to four speakers, connected to a simple mixer on each conference room.

  • Wireless or stationary mics?

  • clip-on kind of mics or cary in your hand mics?
Carry around.

  • How many of them?
Two or three per room.

  • Will the hacklabs be allowed to stay open 24x7? What time schedule do they offer?
Yes. Hacklab will be open 24/7.

  • What kind of security will be there?
The hacklab will be inside the hotel, with standard security guards in the entrance. Additional guards can be summoned upon request.

  • Are there any limitations regarding the consumptions of food / alcohol? Where do what limitations apply?
There should be no food and/or alcohol inside the conference rooms. However, the rest of the hotel facilities can be used for eating/drinking.

  • How far is it to the nearest convenience stores / all-night restaurants?
There are three mayor malls at 5-10min (walking) from the venue.

[edit] Option 2: Hotel Venetur Puerto La Cruz

[edit] Food

  • How much are the meals per person per day?
Breakfast is included with the room price. Lunch+dinner are around 20USD per person per day.

  • Is the eating place near the talks place / the hacklabs?
Yes, you would walk a couple meters.

  • What kind of food would be served?
Traditional venezuelan food. However, there are several chinese, japanese and arab food stands in the streets of Puerto La Cruz.
Sopa de mondongo.
Tostones con mojito.

  • In what fashion? (service to the table, limited buffet, open buffet, etc.)
Open buffet.

  • Would food for vegetarian / vegan / lactose-intolerant / gluten-sensitive / religious (of any denomination) people be available?
We can get vegatarian and vegan food.

  • How much meals do we need to order to get those kind of "special" meals?
Chefs can prepare as much as we request.

  • Will it cost extra to get those special meals?

[edit] Network connectivity

  • Is the area already wired with regular network infrastructure? (much preferrably: 100Mbps or 1Gbps switched)
The conference rooms and hacklab have to be wired and set up to ensure maximum functionality. Wireless connections are already put in place for normal hotel operations.

  • How much does it cost and how difficult is it to get a big internet connection? (10/20 Mbits at least)
A 20Mbit connection can be sponsored by CANTV, a government provider.

  • How much work does it imply to cover the area with wireless links?
The entire hotel has wireless links.

  • If we use someone else's infrastructure, how easy / flexible can that be handled, regarding routing / firewall / ip-range / public access / other stuff?

  • Do we have restrictions on allowed ports?

  • Are we traffic-shaped? Or can we set a traffic shaper if we need so?
No, but we might be able to implement this with some anticipation.

  • Would it be possible to set up the network before Debcamp? (a day or two, earlier would be nicer, in order to handle problems gracefully. Additional weeks for wireless.)
Of course.

[edit] Special rooms

  • General conditions for the rooms

  • Size

  • Have they/do they need air conditioning?

  • What electrical load can they handle?

[edit] Fun and Free time

  • What activities can be done during the free time?
Mochima National Park.
Mochima National Park.
As said before, Puerto La Cruz is next to the Mochima National Park. The pristine and calm waters of Mochima are loved by many people who are amazed with the beauty and uniqueness of the seabed hosting mangroves, corals and colonies of sea anemones, shrimp, fish, crabs, and dolphins that make the sea a kind of wonderful zoo. Practitioners of diving, swimming, sailing, wind/kitesurfing, kayaking, rafting, fishing, paragliding are regular visitors to the shores and islands of Mochima.
Mochima has plenty of small restaurants where most dishes are prepared with seafood. Craft sales and famous coctails are also offered in this population. Locals provide services of sea transportation to the beaches that are difficult to reach by land.
In Lecherías, a sister city of Puerto La Cruz, there are several attractions. Plastic arts museum Dimitrius Demu (map) is a very special destination for art lovers.
Dimitrius Demu museum.

  • What would be a possible Day Trip?
Fortin La Magdalena
There are several options to Day Trip. One possible trip would be visiting Fortin La Magdalena on Cerro El Morro (Video, spanish). Fortin (stronghold) La Magdalena was an ancient castle built by the spain crown in 1798 to defend the commercial waterway of Neverí river. Thanks to its strategic position, it was commonly attacked by pirates and patriot forces, fighting for independency. Later, on 1819, General Simón Bolívar and Rafael Urdaneta took the strognhold on a bloody battle. A couple of meters from the Fortin, there is a field where we can do paragliding (Video).

Another option is to rent a boat to make a tour through several of the park islands, where adventure activities can be done, or, if you prefer, you can just sit and swim. As said before, diving, swimming, sailing, wind/kitesurfing, kayaking, rafting, fishing, paragliding are available activities to do on the islands.

Scuba diving.
Rafting on Neveri river.

  • How expensive would that be?
Little boats (peñeros) depart from docks at 10min from the venue to the islands of the park at a price to be examined. There would be small fees to rent equipment for scuba diving, wind/kitesurfing, kayaking and rafting.

[edit] Local Sponsors

  • Do you have a list of prospective sponsors that might be interested in helping the conference? (By providing venues, money, hardware, connectivity, etc.)
We have spotted a number of local sponsors that traditionally help the Free Software Movement in Venezuela and will probably sponsor DebConf14:
  • Ministerio del Poder Popular para la Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación.
  • Ministerio del Poder Popular para el Turismo.
  • Centro Nacional de Tecnologías de la Información (CNTI).
  • Compañía Anónima Nacional de Teléfonos de Venezuela (CANTV).
  • Venezolana de Industrias Tecnológicas (VIT).
  • Venezolana de telecomunicaciones (Vtelca)
  • Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).
  • Síragon.
  • Fundación Infocentros.
  • Distrito Socialista Tecnologico AIT PDVSA Mérida.
  • Fundabit.
  • Conatel.
  • Edelca.
  • Venetur.

  • Have you spoken to these organisations yet, to find out if they might sponsor, and what conditions and deadlines they have? (Note that many large organisations which provide funding for events need to be approached a long time in advance.)
Yes, we have started conversations with Venetur and CNTI.

  • Do you have promises/pledges from any of these sponsors already?
Not yet. Institutions in Venezuela manage their budgets on a yearly basis. We will start the formal sponsoring process on January 2014. However, contact meetings should start when the selection process ends.

[edit] Timing

  • When (and why) would be the best time to host DebConf at your location?
Low season in Puerto La Cruz ends in July, so DebConf14 should be appointed to be between June and July. This guarantees the prices will be low and enough rooms are available.

  • What is your backup plan if your preferred venue isn't available at that time?
If the conference is made on the proposed dates, there should be no problem. However, if we have unexpected issues, the 2nd Option for the venue must be considered.

  • Is there a provisional reservation in place for a particular date? When does the provisional reservation expire?
No, we should wait the selection process to end so that we can start formal operations on this.
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