CARACAS, Wednesday April 01, 2009 | Update
Anguish, pain and death marked the lives of the people of El Limón, in the state of Aragua, as heavy rains led to the overflowing of El Limón river. Passion also broke lose in the border after Venezuela flew its F16 planes over Colombia's Caldas ship following the latter's incursion into Venezuelan territorial waters. Diplomacy eased the military tension between the neighboring nations
Over 300 people fell victim to the El Limón river after
it overflowed on September 6, 1987 File Photo: Andrés
Mata Foundation / Luis Bisbal
Nature had no mercy on the people of El Limón, in the central state of Aragua. Heavy rainfall over the first few days of September caused the river to overflow and take everything in its path with it, including roads, houses, cars and, worst of all, lives.
The effects were felt in Maracay and Ocumare de la Costa. Official reports indicated 100 people dead, 90 missing, 300 injured and thousands homeless.
In the country, in addition to efforts implement by Civil Defense, the media organized several relief efforts.
On the verge of war
On August 9, ARC Caldas of the Colombian Navy was detected in Venezuelan territorial waters by missile patrol Libertad, under the command of officer Alfredo Castañeda Giral. Upon learning of the events, President Jaime Lusinchi authorized deployment of the armed forces, including F-16 airplanes, which flew over the ship awaiting the order to attack.
Colombian President Virgilio Barco also deployed several army units and sent submarine ARC Tayrona to the area.
On August 17, the crisis reached its breaking point as the Venezuelan government was about to order an attack on ARC Independiente, which was sent to replace ARC Caldas.
Lusinchi sought advise from the domestic political sector, both opposition and government, as well as from OAS Secretary General João Baena Soares and Argentinean President Raúl Alfonsín. Under this pressure and by means of dialogue between both leaders, Colombia ordered the retreat of the ship from the Venezuelan Gulf.
Not all actions by the president would have a victorious outcome. The refinancing of foreign debt by the international banking sector dealt a harsh blow to the country because of the government's limitations in obtaining grace periods, which led to hefty payments to creditors.
This was also the year of an environmental scandal. It was discovered that a load of 11,000 barrels (2,000 tons) of toxic waste were dumped by Czechoslovakian ship Rahdost. Italian entrepreneurs sent it to Venezuela from the Di Carrara municipality, and the waste was deposited in warehouse Almacenadora Gáldica, located near residential neighborhood Cumboto II and was imported by the company Ileadil, without any control or knowledge by the Venezuelan government.
Venezuelans celebrated the Prince of Asturias Award given to scientist Jacinto Convit, creator of the leprosy vaccine, and the inauguration of El Llanito hospital with services and equipment comparable to those of the United States.
5.- Renewed status
6.- Radio Capital
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