CARACAS, Tuesday February 15, 2011 | Update
Venezuelan government built 284,000 housing units in 12 years

According to President Hugo Chávez, two million dwellings will be built in seven years under a social program called Mission Housing

Housing-related Mission Villanueva was launched in 2007 to create new “socialist cities” (File photo)
Tuesday February 15, 2011  10:48 AM

President Hugo Chávez Frías relaunched a housing-related project in his weekly radio and TV program last Sunday, saying that his government will build two million housing units in seven years. However, under two previous housing-related programs in the last 12 years the Venezuelan authorities managed to build 284,000 dwellings only.

In November 2010, before the emergency created by heavy rains, the Venezuelan Head of State announced that it was time to encourage house building, stressing that the per capita house construction rate showed a negative trend. After heavy rains ravaged hundreds of houses in December 2010, Chávez vowed to speed up the construction of housing units as a personal challenge.

Targeting such a goal, under the Enabling Law, Chávez enacted the Emergency Law on Lands and Housing, which declares in the public interest lands and non-residential buildings and creates vital areas for the construction of houses. In addition to this law, the Venezuelan president announced that 150,000 houses would be built in 2011. This figure includes housing units built by the private sector, regional entities and government agencies.

On Sunday, Chávez went further and decided that these developments will be encompassed by a plan he called the great Mission Housing Venezuela, which will comprise the two previous housing-related social projects (Habitat and Villanueva) and new strategies as well.

The Venezuelan president stressed that the plan will cover five major aspects, but his announcements so far are not different from those he made in the past. The Executive Office had previously announced plans to build 120,000 housing units. It launched missions and invited the private sector to participate in the development projects.

When Chávez took office in 1999, the Venezuelan government undertook to build 60,000 houses per year. The goal was kept until 2003, but Chávez's administration decided to establish the Ministry of Housing and Habitat in 2004.

After the creation of the ministry, Chávez launched Mission Habitat in 2005 and urged the ministers to build 120,000 housing units per year and increased funds for housing projects.

In 2007, the government announced again that it would speed up the construction of dwellings and established Mission Villanueva. This plan put in place the "socialist cities."

Translated by Gerardo Cárdenas


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