Red Wine and Arepas – How football is becoming Venezuela’s religion : The man behind the book


Venezuela. The fifth most populous country in South America. A country in economic and political crisis.

But with all such turmoil coursing through Caracas, there is one entity, one being which unites the divide. It is nothing other than the beautiful game.

Venezuela have never qualified for the World Cup (the only team in South America not to do so), and have never won the Copa America (one of two), but now, talking to freelance author Jordan Florit, we discover that football is part of the culture and a growing part too.

Red Wine and Arepas, a book in production by Jordan, aims to tackle the growth, the structure and the future of Venezuelan football. What impact does it have politically, socially and for the country as a whole?

Image result for jordan florit

Jordan with his six month old baby

Cómo se formó el interés

(How the interest was formed)

Jordan (left) was born to a Spanish father and an English mother, so always had connections to Latin America. With his grandfather passing away at age nine, Jordan always had a natural inclination to research and find out more about the Spanish speaking culture and history.

Once meeting his wife, who was also Spanish speaking, she had a best friend growing up from the country in question, Venezuela. This may have sparked the interest into reality a little more.

“I’m a massive reader and I love football, so to couple this with my interest with South America I began to read my way through South American politics, culture and football.

“I got to Venezuela and found that there was no books, in English at least, about football in this country. This intrigued me but to find out anything I had to reach out directly to people in the know if you like. But it was only really passing interest.

“And by word of mouth this book will have around 100 interviewees, so it will certainly be in-depth.”

The country itself is a politically sensitive one, which may risk alienation to those who disagree, and Jordan knew this. In March, he made the decision to write an article on Venezuelan football and by starting conversations with fans and journalists, he believed that the best way to publish the knowledge and ethos of Venezuela will be through ‘Red Wine and Arepas’.

El título

(The Title)

So why such an interesting title, leaving so much for interpretation from the reader? Red Wine is the nickname of the national team translated from ‘La vinotinto’, and Arepas is a daily part of the diet in Venezuela, which is a part of the book Jordan wanted to convey through the means of a title.

See the source image


“The title intends to show two staples of Venezuelan life, Red Wine and Arepas, but as Arepas is a bread based beverage, I believe it connotes religion, like red wine and bread. This couples nicely with the fact that football is becoming the dominant theme in the country and globally too. Its an unstoppable force and won’t stop growing.

“Football has become so big that it influences the mood of a country entirely. Say in Brazil in 2014, when they were expected to win and got destroyed by Germany, the whole country was wounded and hurt. But I saw some stats the other day that when Brazil win, suicide rates in young men drop dramatically.

“This is the level of emotional impact it has. It is a religion.”

La pirámide de fútbol venezolana

(The Venezuelan Football Pyramid)

Although the Venezuelan senior side are yet to reach a World Cup, one topic Jordan immediately looked to investigate was the success of the Under-20 side who reached their World Cup final in 2017, losing 1-0 to England.

This could be the direct result of a rule introduced in 2007 by the Venezuelan FA known as the ‘Juvenile Rule’. This states that in each match every XI needs to feature one under-20 player as a minimum.

The vast majority of the current Venezuela squad has come through this system and it has seen the stock of ‘La Vinotinto’ rise to 26th in the current world rankings. A national high.

Venezuela has always had a structure, but the professional game has only really materialised in the past decade. Sides in the top two divisions were mostly founded in the 21st century.

“Like most South American leagues they have an opening and a closing stage, so they format it with a final midway through the season. It’s a growing league which has brought in a number of good initiatives such as the Juvenile rule, and one which I’m not a fan of on the E-sports side. You have to embrace how the game is evolving though. It is really innovative.”


Sociedad y Política

(Society and Politics)

The aspects of culture, community and society will be vastly intertwined through each page of ‘Red Wine and Arepas’, but what Jordan is keen to encourage is the lack of pre-determined agenda for the publication.

Whether it be opinions from the far-left, the far-right or the neutral, he is keen to see the diversity along the political spectrum in Venezuela in the book.

“Football for me is inherently political, so of course there will be some politics involved in it. I’m not going to leave things out if it doesn’t fit the message. I will not censor opinions and I want to give Venezuela another narrative in their story.

El impacto del libro

(The impact of the book)

“I want people to learn about the country through a different means other than anti and pro-government literature.

“If you say to your friend, what do you think when I say Venezuela? They’ll probably say either Chavez is they’re politically aware, oil, or financial crisis. I want Red Wine and Arepas to help change that perspective.

“At the end of the day they are in an inescapable financial crisis. But I’d love people to see the growing football nation as a symbol of hope and light in the darkness.”

“There are so many stories through Venezuelans in the game which are fantastic and they are yet to be told. The book is the platform for them to tell the world.”

Image result for red wine and arepas

Credit – Jordan Florit

So where and when can you purchase ‘Red Wine and Arepas’?

The Kickstarter campaign began today and is released next summer, but you can keep up tabs on the project by subscribing here. You can also follow Jordan (@TheFalseLibero) on Twitter, and follow his journey on Facebook too.

Good luck Jordan, from all of us at Prost International.


About Author

Sports Journalism student, streamer at LFC Transfer Room, Anfield Agenda. Liverpool fan with a particular interest in Welsh, Youth, and African football.

Comments are closed.