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Sitting on A Rooftop in Caracas

Sitting on A Rooftop in Caracas
Looking in one direction.

Looking in one direction.

Looking in the other direction on the same afternoon.

A 180 turn (obviously taken a few hours earlier).

Venezuela is a far more equal country today than it was a decade or two ago. Yet the Caracas skyline remains a constant reminder of not only the injustice of capitalism, but also the dire need to deepen the revolution.

2 Comments on Sitting on A Rooftop in Caracas

  1. Antonio Bernal // June 12, 2014 at 3:00 pm // Reply

    As far as housing since Chavez there have been half a million

    housing units have been built, either free or at minimum wage

    standards, completely equiped with sofa, bed, tv, washing machine

    etc. They are no plans to dismantle the favelas, but they are

    constantloy being repired and kept in shape. The article assumes

    that people “want to move out of a slum” but the truth is that they

    are home and dont want to go anywhere as long as they have decent

    housing right there. Some of those balconies have awesome vistas.

    • Hey Antonio, the point I was trying to make was that under socialism, there shouldn’t be some rich people living in air conditioned, shiny apartment blocks, with others live in barrios. After living in a barrio in Venezuela, I’d agree that it’s unreasonable to assume everyone is desperate to get out. If anything, the opposite is indeed true, as you rightly point out. Most people seemed to actually like the community feel that barrios have (very different to a sanitised apartment block). Plus, despite what the right-wing likes to think, Venezuela’s barrios aren’t dens of extreme poverty and endless violence. People actually live pretty well compared to most developing countries.

      In other countries I’ve seen entire families living out of cardboard boxes, and in most of the world, the poor are totally alienated from society. This isn’t the case in Venezuela, where the poor have been empowered politically. Moreover, it’s difficult to find people in Venezuela going without basics, even in the barrios. In my barrio in Venezuela, nobody slept on the streets, and nobody was starving. Yet despite this, living in a barrio comes with all kinds of challenges. Living under a tin roof in tropical heat, faulty power lines and intermittent water supply all create problems. In my barrio, the power line heading into the neighbourhood was propped up by some wire and a tree branch. Every so often, the wire slipped and we all lost power. Someone had to go out and fix it. Plus, hilly barrios where public transport is limited can be hell for the elderly. Moreover, many of these buildings are certainly not made to decent building standards. For example, I’d be surprised if a single building in my barrio in Merida was earthquake proof. We had tremors all the time, but if there was a serious earthquake or flood, I’m guessing my house would have come tumbling down around me. The barrios shouldn’t go, but the shonky building, the tin roofs and undrinkable water should.

      This isn’t to demean the progress made under the revolution. The Chavez and Maduro governments have already achieved the unimaginable in regards to housing and maintaining the barrios (look no further than Barrio Nuevo, Barrio Tricolor to see some great stuff), but there is still so much to be done. Venezuela spent centuries being exploited by capitalism, and the damage won’t be repaired overnight.

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