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Christmas joy despite tragedies in Venezuela. ( 0) Printer friendly page Print This
By Edward Ellis. Presidential Press
Presidential Press via Correo del Orinoco
Sunday, Dec 26, 2010

After heavy rains left tens of thousands homeless in Venezuela, the government is providing humane solutions.

How about a Bolivarian Arepa or a Socialist Empañada. Yep, this week the government inaugurated the new socialist panaderias to ensure everyone can afford a bite of Venezuela's fav foods while the pitiyanquis jack prices out of reach for many in their private stores. In the photo, "the boss" is trying out an arepa. Looks like he's got some ham in there.

Humane Solutions

New homes were provided this week for hundreds of Venezuelans displaced by the rains last month, as constructions began nationwide to solve the country’s housing problems. New “socialist” restaurants and shops were inaugurated also this week to ensure affordable and quality products for all, especially during the holiday season, in order to combat price hikes and speculation in the private sector.  For the displaced residents of the poor neighborhood of Petare in the state of Miranda, there could not have been a better Christmas present than the one given to them by the Venezuelan government last Sunday - the gift of new homes.

Venezuelan government provides new
homes for displaced families

During his weekly television program, Alo Presidente, the Venezuelan head of state, Hugo Chavez, officially delivered 120 new apartments to refugee families who had taken shelter in the William Lara Attention Center in Petare after torrential rains had forced them out of their homes.

“I don’t want you to return to shanties”, Chavez said to the economically disadvantaged families who had lost their homes or had been evacuated due to high risks caused by the rains. “I want you to go to your new homes as some of you have already done.”

The new apartments delivered by the government contrast starkly with the precariously built shanties that fill the hillsides around major Venezuelan cities such as Caracas.

They are fully equipped with appliances including kitchen stoves, washing machines, and refrigerators.

The move comes as part of the government’s relief efforts for families affected by the torrential rains that have left more than 100 thousand people displaced.

Thirty-Five people have also been killed by the relentless downpours that have marked the worst rainy season that the country has seen in forty years.

FUTURE CONSTRUCTIONS

Chavez reported on Sunday that in addition to those already being delivered, 650 new apartments will soon be constructed on a 4.5 hectare plot of land in the area that had been previously purchased by the Venezuelan Supreme Court.

Venezuelan government provides new homes for displaced families According to the Venezuelan President, the land had been bought to accommodate those working in the judiciary but had been underutilized.

“All of this land belonged to the Judicial Branch to create a juridical complex”, Chavez related. “The President of the Supreme Court, Dr. Luisa Estela Morales, called me a few days ago and said: President, we don’t need this. The Judicial Branch bough it some years back and hasn’t done anything with it. We prefer to give it to the people”.

The Venezuelan President also called for the improvement of conditions inside shelters and asked for a reduction in the number of families taking refuge in each attention center.

“We need to reduce the number of families in the shelters. We have to humanize these shelters to the maximum”, he said.

The call was made so that those affected by the rains “can remain as families for a period of more or less a year while housing is constructed. We have to have an equal distribution of people in the different [attention] centers so that there is more comfort”, he stated.

Recently, the government has been ratcheting up its relief efforts for the victims of the rains, creating public shelters, distributing food and medical care, and organizing leisure and recreation activities for the refugees.

HOUSING A PRIORITY

Housing has been the top priority as the government has worked to accelerate both short-term and long-term living solutions.

Apart from the projects taking place in Petare, President Chavez inaugurated a further 140 apartments in the state of Miranda via satelite on Sunday and an additional 230 in the state of Vargas, one of the coastal states that had been hardest hit by the downpours.

According to Vargas Governor, Jorge Carneiro, the first installment of 230 homes is part of a larger government plan to construct 500 new apartments.

The price of the housing for residents provided by the government will vary depending on the situation of each new homeowner, Chavez explained.

“The families that lost their homes and their furnishings will not be charged one cent for the home. There will be other cases in which we subsidize a good part of the house and the families, based on their incomes, will pay off the rest little by little with a low interest rate to maintain the plan”, he said.

MULTINATIONAL COOPERATION

Last Saturday, Chavez toured the military complex of Fort Tiuna in Caracas where he expounded on plans to invest 400 million dollars in the construction of 10 thousand new homes, converting the under-populated military zone into a residential area.

The project is slated to be completed by January of next year and will be carried out in collaboration with the Chinese multinational, International Trust and Investment Corporation (Citic) Group.

The government has also employed the cooperation of the eastern European nation of Belarus to construct an additional 2,500 apartments in the state of Aragua.

Accompanying Chavez during his tour of Fort Tiuna on Saturday, the Belarusian Vice Minister for Architecture and Construction, Anatoly Nichkzov, informed that his government is ready to install a new factory in Venezuela to aid housing construction.

“This socialist factory is part of twelve businesses that will develop products and materials for the construction of high quality homes”, the Vice Minister stated.

In a similar vein, Chavez announced on Sunday the nationalization of two paralyzed factories deemed critical for housing construction.

“One of the factories is called Aluminios de Venezuela, Alven, and the other, [the toilet factory] Sanitarios Maracay. Both businesses will allow us to strengthen, above all, our production capacity for construction supplies”, he noted.

The Venezuelan head of state also announced during his program on Sunday the creation of a commission designed to negotiate cheap apartment rentals as a shortterm solution for rain victims.

“There are a lot of people who rent homes, apartments”, Chavez said with reference to private firms and individuals. “If we have to rent 10 thousand houses and apartments in the interim, this can be another solution”, he said.

T/ Edward Ellis

Source: Presidential Press via Correo del Orinoco

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