Chavez Disappointed with His Government’s Public Housing Achievements

Reviewing his government's progress with the housing program, President Chavez said that he was disappointed with the results so far. Out of 120,000 homes to be built in 2005 only a third have been completed.

Caracas, Venezuela, August 1, 2005—Venezuela’s President Chavez said that his was “supremely” disappointed with himself and with his government with regard to his government’s achievements in the public housing program. Chavez made the comments yesterday during his weekly television program Aló Presidente, where he also announced that his government is investing $2.8 billion in the housing program.

According to a report that Julio Montes, the Minister of Housing and Habitat, presented, only 43,000 homes had been constructed so far this year, while the government’s goal is to construct at least 120,000. Chavez said, “This will not do, with all due respect, this is not the way. …but at this speed we will not even reach the corner.”

Chavez went on to say that the most common letters the president’s office receives are requests for housing. “I am supremely disappointed with myself and my government on this subject and the first responsibility is mine. I am giving time to see the results, but the signs are bad,” said Chavez.

Minister Montes defended himself on the program, saying that the housing issue is extremely complicated. He named several of the different types of housing programs his ministry is managing, among which is a “return to the countryside” program and another is the replacement of 8,000 poorly built self-built homes in the country’s capital of Caracas.

Chavez also announced that his government is investing $3.2 billion in creating housing for the country’s population and that a new "mission" would be lauched, known as "Mission Return to the Countryside." By making the existing return to the countryside program a mission, the government hopes to dedicate additional resources and efforts to the program. Many people who came from the countryside in the past ten years in the hope of finding work in the capital live in over-crowded and frequently dangerous conditions.

It is estimated that Venezuela needs at least 135,000 new publicly built new homes per year, just to keep up with the growing housing demand. This is in addition to the deficit of nearly 1 million homes that exists from previous years.