CARACAS, Wednesday April 01, 2009 | Update
The last day in the year was chosen to open Bolívar Avenue, the first main thoroughfare in the capital city. Land layout and planning of downtown Caracas was expected around this avenue. However, after several changes to the original project, the initial idea never came true. That same year marked the detention and eviction of some leaders of political Acción Democrática party. Also, the People's Republic of China was organized
The desire to step into modern times by replacing the rural with the urban encouraged the construction of this grand avenue in downtown Caracas File Photo: Andrés Mata Foundation
Caracas dressed up to open its first main thoroughfare. Bolívar
Avenue was inaugurated on the last day of the year. Designed
by Maurice Rotival, the first stage was 1,600 meters long,
including 400 meters underground -quite an innovation at that
At the beginning, it was called the Grand Central Avenue and was envisaged as the hub of the Caracas Monumental Plan undertaken by the Caracas government for the purposes of land layout and planning in the capital city. Traffic was turning into a problem when the project was envisaged in 1936. Experts warned that the city could not cope with 6,103 recorded vehicles.
However, the plan had many obstacles and Rotival's original idea was modified. The initial sketch included a mausoleum high in El Calvario for the Libertador's remains and the Capitol. Besides traffic, there was low activity around Bolívar Avenue and several plans were made to utilize the surroundings.
Nowadays, Bolívar Avenue shows wear and tear. The current government of President Hugo Chávez has proposed building a nearby Revolution Square, but the proposal has not materialized.
In 1949, in addition to the opening of this freeway, constitutional rights were reestablished on November 23rd. Five days later, a commission was entrusted with the task of drafting the bylaws to call election. The taskforce was led by Luis Gerónimo Pietri and also included Jóvito Villalba and Rafael Caldera.
Several detentions and expulsions occurred during that period. On January 23rd, Rómulo Betancourt left the Colombian Embassy, together with his wife and daughter, for the United States. On March 8th, Editor in Chief of El Gráfico daily newspaper, Luis Herrera Campíns, was detained. On April 19th, Leonardo Ruiz Pineda and other political prisoners, including Carlos Andrés Pérez and José Ángel Ciliberto, were released from the jail Cárcel Modelo. All of them were confined to the province.
On August 17th, 30 political prisoners left for Havana. On September 12th, Alberto Carnevali, Luis Lander and Luis Augusto Dubuc went in exile to Mexico.
In the international ambit, the creation on October 1st of the People's Republic of China was noteworthy. This happened after a civil war that was lost by the followers of Chiang Kai-shek's government. They took refuge in Taiwan, the only Chinese territory free from the communist rule.
Also that year, Germany split into two states, and Indonesia became independent of the Netherlands on October 31st. That same day, a typhoon caused 975 deaths and 20,000 homeless.
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