In Colonial times this was one of the top areas for tobacco exports to Europe. Usually, Spanish colonizers living in Merida, in the Venezuelan Andes, would get control of some area in the Barinas region, get an encomienda and in that way use the native Americans as forced labour for agriculture. Times went by and big owners changed.
Barinas city is rather recent: it was founded at the end of the XVIII century. It is not precisely a beautiful city, unlike other cities in the areas such as Altamira de Cáceres.
After the Independence military men took over most the lands...and that hasn't changed a little bit since then.
The Chávez clan controls Barinas very tightly: Hugo Chávez's older brother, Adan, is the governor of the Barinas state and usually lives in Barinas city. He was before the city's mayor. Now the mayor is still a PSUV man. It would be almost inconceivable that it can get a mayor from another party as long as Chávez reigns.
51.36% of the population in that municipality is supposed to have voted for PSUV candidates in 2010's election. The unified opposition got 46.46%. Only 4.45% of the total (thus, around 10% of the 46.46%) went to new parties Primero Justicia, 1.75% of the total went to Podemos and 1.59% went to UNT. Paleolithic party AD got 8.89% of the total. There are 201.914 voters in that map, so this is not a rural area, it is a city. In the 2008 elections for mayor, Chavismo got 45.02% of the votes. It is obvious that if the alternative forces really want to bring change to Venezuela, they will have to mind these places.
To do that national leaders of such parties as PJ and UNT have to go there. They cannot leave it just to some local caudillo. Unfortunately, the alternative forces are not aware of what efforts they need to undertake to do this. They are, admittedly, short of cash. They have to deal with Chávez's thugs attacking them any time they go to such areas. Traveling in Venezuela is not easy. Still: they need to make an extra effort and organise things in a better way so that they can, after all, get to those areas, listen to the local interests, think about those items and come back with a national project that includes them.