Archive for January 5th, 2006

Caracas La Guaira highway closed, nature blamed, nobody knew the danger?

January 5, 2006

(Pictures courtesy of Noticiero Digital)

It was less than a month ago, on Dec. 16th., that President Hugo Chavez toured the ongoing repairs of the viaduct of the Caracas La Guaira highway and said that the media had blown the problem out of proportion. For the next few days and weeks, the Minister of Infrastructure said that the viaduct would be repaired by cutting the old columns and displacing the bridge onto newly built ones.

On December 21st. as I drove over the viaduct, I noticed some ten to fifteen firetrucks hidden on a side road, which suggested to me that things were not as peachy as suggested. Today the highway was completely shut down. There has been no announcement whether it is permanent or not, but the Minister suggested it was. An announcement was made that the highway will be closed indefinitely. So much for the media blowing the issue out of proportion.

What is perhaps the saddest part, is that now nature in the form of the rains and the land moving are being blamed for the problem today. (Or is it the nature of our Government management style?)The truth is that Venzuela gave Jamaica this week US$ 300 million to build a highway, Bolivia another US$ 80 million and Ecuador US$ 30 million for road resurfacing. With a fraction of that a new viaduct or alternate road could have been built in our own country in the last seven years of oil widfall. But the problem has been ignored for the last 18 years, seven of which have been under the watchful eye of the revolution and Chavez.

But, of course, it is never the revolution’s fault, the revolution is perfect and never admits mistakes, as demonstrated by the statements by none other than the chief liar Jose Vicente Rangel as he toured the site and said: “Nobody knew that the viaduct could collapse“. Nobody? I imagine he means nobody in the Government, because on December 20th. 2005, the President of the Venezuelan College of Engineers said:

“The viaduct will collapse soon…We have been warning for a year and a half about this problem and have been giving solutions…the work being performed is oriented to prolongits life, but its death is reflected in it…the non-treatment of the emergency is a situation that has been going on for a long time and the responsible authoritites did not take the necessary precautions”

This was only 14 days ago, but the Vice-President still thinks the memory of the people is very short, like in so many other lies of the revolution. It was only two weeks ago that we were assured by Government officials: “The viaduct will be usable the rest of 2005 and in all of 2006” or “The repairs we are making will fix the problem”. “The viaduct will hodl until a new one is built”. Only Chavez actually told the truth when he visited the viaduct. After blasting the media, touring the works being performed, he let it out: :”There is no solution to this”.  I guess the VP does not think much of him either.