Sluggishness of housing works
In a tour of work in progress, workers told El Universal that the speed before the election has slowed down since Wednesday, October 10, when the works were resumed. In some buildings, the night duty was removed; in some others, the payroll was chopped; in some others, the weekend duty was discontinued
The construction pace plunged in a complex of more than one thousand dwellings on the Los Leones bridge, La Paz, west Caracas.
Local residents reported that in the weeks before the election, a large amount of workers would work long through the night. The outlook has lately changed. "Now, they work only by day; they do not turn on the lamps anymore to move the machinery at night time," said Esperanza Rodríguez, a local resident.
In some works, they have opted to cut down on the payroll. In a building of Mission Housing located in Ávila street, San Bernardino, north Caracas, 50% of workers were fired last week. Only one hundred remained for the day hours, according to some workers.
The same is true for a building at Bolívar Avenue, where about 320 people work; thirty less than in the last two weeks.
Building during weekends and holidays stopped as well. During the holiday of October 12, the works halted in most of the city.
In the opinion of Celia Herrera, the headmistress of the School of Civil Engineering, Central University of Venezuela (UCV), the works would be carried out at full speed in order to "keep within reach the dream of having a house" ahead of the election.
Aquiles Martini, the president of the Real Estate Chamber, is afraid that the promise of President Hugo Chávez as to bridging in the near future the gap of more than three million dwellings in Venezuela is not at all feasible. "Mission Housing is of a political hue. In order to solve the crisis, several cities like Caracas should be developed in three-year term; such a project is not possible in the short term and for that, the private sector should be added as well."
"After five years, we will listen again to the same promises," he added.
President Chávez took on the housing shortage. "I resolved to take charge of the problem," he emphasized during an inspection of Ciudad Tiuna development. He informed that 400,000 apartments were being built. "And in the next three years, additional three million will be made."
Translated by Conchita Delgado
José Vicente Rangel clearly said: "We are not conducting negotiations threatened with a gun in the head." He warned behind closed doors in the midst of the social upheaval occurred during the oil strike in 2002 and 2003. Dissenting Timoteo Zambrano answered back that no other option was available: "The thing is that otherwise, you do not negotiate."