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Venezuela's new construction plan: "Misión Bullshit"

By Teodoro Petkoff | Tal Cual

01.03.05 | In a new episode of delirium tremens (even if we know the man does not drink, because in his case that becomes un aggravating circumstance, because everyone knows that if you are drunk “it does not count”), Chávez promised that his Government will build between this year and 2006 , 200 hundred thousand housing units. In other words, the goal is to build twice as many housing units than those that have been built in the previous six years. How much we wish that this would be true, but given the background, there are not many reasons for optimism. Between 1999 and August 2004, the Government of the human revolution, concerned about the status of the poor, with Chavez ashamed of having to live in La Casona, while millions of his fellow countrymen who are poor had to live in shacks, built a meager 100,569 houses, which gives you an average of 16,000 per year. That number, more than squalid, miserable, contrasts with what the Governments prior to Chavez accomplished. In the five years of CAP-2-Velasquez, a total of 313 thousand housing units were built by the Government: an average of 62,000 a year. In the Government of Caldera, the Government built 341,666: 68 thousand per year. Thus, these Governments that Chavez has launched thousand of insults against them, built in five years each, three times more housing units than Chavez has in his six years.

Perhaps nothing undresses more eloquently the marathon of bullshit that we have been forced to listen to during these six years, that the sorry failure of the housing policies of the”revolution.” Obviously, with bullshit you can’t even built shacks made of mud. Now, once again the promise rises again: 80 thousand houses this year and 120 thousand the next one. It would really be a miracle.

The same way it would have been a miracle that unemployment had dropped from the 19% that the Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE) registered for January 2004 to the 5% predicted by “Merlin Chavez” for December of last year. That was going to be the magic result of the Misiòn Vuelvan Caras. Well, the INE has just given out the unemployment numbers for January 2005: 15.3%, less than the same month a year earlier but the same as the average for all of 2004. The faces of the poor continue to be turned towards the pole of hopelessness and poverty.

Of course, it would have been impossible to have a different result. Each year some 400 thousand Venezuelans go into the labor markets. A productive system like ours, where both private and public investment are reduced to its lowest historical levels, does not have the capacity to absorb the hungry mass of young people that reaches working age. The economic policy of Chavismo “ni lava ni presta la batea” (neither washes nor lends the washbasin). If there is no investment, there will be no creation of new jobs-to say it with that expression, which is not used much today, but very graphical. If there is no investment to create jobs, unemployment can not go down. But since people have to live, the only option is to make do with the streets, informality and crime. That is, a social deterioration that does not cease and which can not be hidden.

The President says, referring to the prior 40 years of democracy that with poverty there could not be democracy. Said in 1999, it was a complete program for hope.. Six years later, it is simply pure bullshit.

Translated by Miguel Octavio

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