Monday, August 25, 2014

Qué lástima, Caracas

Venezuelan ingenuity; the spoil of war without the war;
Caracas is only one of four cities in the world, and the only one in the Americas, to have experienced an abysmal decline in its quality of life over the past five years. The only cities that have experienced worse drops in “livability” are those mired in armed conflict: Kiev, Ukraine; Tripoli, Libya;  and Damascus, Syria.
This is according to information provided by the Intelligence Unit of the Economist in their latest Global Liveability Ranking and Report published in August. The study evaluated 30 factors related to stability, health, education, infrastructure, culture, and environment in 140 cities around the world.
The capital of Venezuela, which ranked 126 of 140, is the only city in the Americas to have experienced such a drastic decline across the relevant indicators since 2009.
Well, can it be blamed on the locals?
“In other cities, many of these powers are in the hands of local government, but in Caracas, they have been centralized. Here, the transportation system (Metro and Metrobús) reports to the Minister of Transportation, electricity is in the hands of the Minister of Electric Energy, hospitals and schools are not in the hands of local government, because they have taken those powers away. The people are able to identify that the national government is responsible for many of these issues,” says [Fredery] Calderón [president of For a Possible Caracas].
In addition, the ruling party has used the power of the central government to create a parallel authority in the municipalities where they have lost local mayoral elections.
Oh! Where are the people who profess to be so appalled by Chile's temporary detour from democracy during the Pinochet years, when you need them?
In 2009, Chavistas created the Capital District Government, an administrative body led by the “head of government,” an unelected presidential appointee. This new appointee was granted the powers previously held by the city’s mayor, opposition leader Antonio Ledezma, in the municipality of Libertador, the only municipality within the district where the opposition has not won an election in recent years.
Following the most recent mayoral and gubernatorial elections, in which Ledezma won reelection against his Chavista opponent Ernesto Villegas, the central government repeated this same tactic and created the Ministry of Popular Power for the Revolutionary Transformation of the Great Caracas. Villegas was placed in charge of the new ministry and tasked with the duties and authority that the local electorate had previously denied him.
[Bold by HSIB]

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