CARACAS, Wednesday April 01, 2009 | Update
Buildings such as Neverí, Palace Corvin, Mijagual and San José, in the east of Caracas, failed to withstand the earthquake of over 6 degrees on the Richter scale and plummeted to the ground before the bewildered eyes of Altamira and Los Palos Grandes neighbors. The streets of Caracas became a large hotel on the night of July 29. In southern Bolívar state, President Raúl Leoni inaugurated the Angostura bridge over River Orinoco, and in Bolivia the Che died. The first heart transplantation was performed
A 32-second long earthquake, measuring six degrees on the Richter scale left more than 320 people dead and 3,000 injured Photo: Luis R. Bisbal
Severiana Calanche is 71 years old and still recalls with
distress the difficult times she went through on the night
of Saturday, July 29. Pregnant and with her two children in
her arms, she ran down the stairs in Chapellín neighborhood
because she though her house was crumbling down. A 32-second
long earthquake, measuring six degrees on the Richter scale
hit Caracas at 8:02 p.m.
Just like many of the dwellers of the capital city, she slept on the streets because of fear of the aftershocks. The impact of the 1967 earthquake devastated the east of the city, specifically the neighborhoods of Altamira and Los Palos Grandes. The effects were even worse in Caraballeda, in coastal Vargas state.
The earthquake was registered by Observatorio Cajigal, which reported that the epicenter was in the central coastline, 20 kilometers from Caracas, between the towns of Arrecifes and Naiguatá. The death toll was greater than 230, according to several bibliographical references. Over 3,000 people were injured.
The following days were filled with pain. Officers from different organizations and thousand volunteers joined efforts to rescue the bodies under the debris. The celebration of the 400th anniversary of Caracas was called off. Little did it matter that night that Mariela Pérez Branger came close to being crowned Miss Universe.
That same year, in southern Bolívar state, President Raúl Leoni inaugurated the Angostura Bridge over River Orinoco to foster development of the region.
Beyond the Venezuelan borders, guerrilla leader Ernesto "Che" Guevara was killed in Bolivia, Guatemalan author Miguel Ángel Asturias won the Nobel Literature Prize and tennis player Billie Jean King swept with the singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles at Wimbledon.
The first heart transplantation was successfully performed in South Africa by surgeon Christian Barnard, who managed to insert the organ donated by Denise Darvall, a 25-year-old woman struck by a car, in the chest of Louis Washkansky.
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