If there is something this Government has failed to do, is to plan ahead. In the Electric sector, as an example, planning was terrible, after canceling some hydro-electric projects that were in the pipeline, nothing else was planned to replace it. While the decision to cancel these projects could be justified, not finding alternatives to it was.
The same can be said about many things. Decisions are made, but implications and alternatives are not considered. Crime grows, but little is done to fix the problems at jails, or even to improve jails or the judicial system. Housing is similar, as the Government has been more and more incompetent on the housing front, the plans have been set aside until the floods hit in December and Chavez decided to make housing a priority, a dangerous strategy given that he is unlikely to have anything to show for it by election time in December 2012.
And then we come to Caracas. A mess of a city under the combination of no major roads built in twelve years, unchecked crime and low gasoline prices. This has created a hostile city, where people spend four to five hours commuting, the subway does not work, public transport is a mess and there are traffic jams late at night and now even on weekends.
Nothing has been done for Caracas on most fronts during the long twelve Chavez years. The President has said that he did not emphasize roads and highways, because he had other priorities. I disagree with that viewpoint, but it is a valid one.
But there can be no justification then to now want to attract people to Caracas. It is true that people will continue flocking to Caracas no matter what the Government does to stop them, but hey, please, just don’t promote it.
But that is exactly what the Venezuelan President is doing. Last weekend he spelled it out when he said:
“We can fit another Caracas within Caracas”
A true folly by the Venezuelan President. Caracas is collapsing. Traffic gets worse, the subway gets worse, the water problems get worse, electrical problems get worse, crime gets worse, unemployment gets worse, sewage problems get worse and yes, there is even flooding in Caracas, so why would Chavez want to fit another Caracas within Caracas?
Because he discovered that the housing problem is glamorous and may just be what tips him over the top in 2012.
Which is stupid, because even if he started one housing project today (which ain’t happening) it will be difficult to have it finished by the end of 2012. He can bring Chinese, Belorussian, Turkish or whatever housing experts, but even if they can build houses instantly, they still have to provide services to it, including water, electricity and sewage, as well as digging foundations and getting permits, which are not going to go away because Chavez says so.
It is not that Hugo is out of touch, he definitely is, but this is simply that he keeps jumping from one of his inventions to the other because he thinks it will gain him popularity. Never mind experts, studies or problems, Hugo’s creativity has no limits, only those of his twisted mind.
But the problem in the end is that you can’t just move people into the city, least of all Chavez’ folly of doubling the population, without a commensurate increase in the infrastructure, including all the basics, until then forget it, you will turn a very disagreeable city into Hell.
Even if it seems like that is what they have been trying to do all along…