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Manuel Rosales announces housing plan for Venezuela

By Aleksander Boyd

Caracas 17.10.06 | [This is an ongoing report] Presidential candidate Manuel Rosales is about to start a press conference in Hotel Lido whereby announcements regarding a national housing plan will be made. Click F5 often to refresh the page...

Rosales has started by saying that the track record of the current administration is an absolute failure. Only 145.000 houses have been built in the last 8 years in spite of the huge windfall of oil profits. "Lousy management, lousy administration of public resources" are to be blamed for it. The poor, that are always in the first line of reasoning of the government, have not seen any benefits in terms of housing solutions.

"If we were to compare the number of houses built by this very rich administration with past ones, one can easily conclude that the discourse about caring for the poor is mere rethoric" remarked Rosales.

Descentralization is to play a fundamental role in the new plan, which will count with active participation of the private sector in order to boost construction and tackle in effective manner the huge deficit accumulated in past years. "We shall build 1.5 million new houses. Additionaly 600.000 ranchos will be modernised and built up to decent standards, as we have done in Zulia through a programme called "Vivienda Feliz." Another part of the plan shall be to provide direct funding to some 300.000 rancho dwellers so that they can rebuild their own stuff with the assistance of government agencies" added the candidate.

Other aspect of this plan will be to enhance roads and other access to barrios.

Bs.75 billions -some $34billions- will be destined by the Rosales government to fund this initiative.

The Q&A section has just started with questions from a journalist from Venezolana de Television (VTV) who, after nearly half an hour of housing talk, asked Rosales about polls and electoral conditions.

Elvia Gomez from El Universal has just asked what will be the timeframe of such a project, what will be the period of disboursement of funds and how does decentralization will impact the plan. Rosales said that he can only plan for a government period, which is currently 6 years and funds will be dispensed accordingly. Regarding decentralization he wondered why it was that the central government had to be involved in the construction of housing solutions around the country. In his opinion the task ought to be transfered to state and municipal authorities.

Del Valle Canelon from Globovision asked about the abusive manner in which the Chavez administration deals with poor citizens requesting help of housing solutions. Rosales considers disrespectful such behaviour adding that playing with people's misery is a most condemnable attitude that shows how little it cares about common problems.

"There are far too many laws in this country which only benefits corrupt civil servants that make nice out of the necessity of others. Not only in housing but in every aspect of the public administration" replied Rosales to another question pertaining the slow pace of delivering solutions.

"Governorhips and Mayorships around the country are not receiving what would normally be assigned to them simply because the government calculates the budget on a $20 p/b when in fact average price hovers around $60 p/b. This government uses the rest of the funds in discretionary fashion at the detriment of Venezuelan regions. We have said that we will fund a part of the housing plan through "Mi Negra" programme and we shall do so merely by budgeting correctly" stated Rosales.

The plan will generate 700.000 direct jobs

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