During all of these recent days, it rained in Venezuela like never before. To have an idea, we have twice the amount of rainfall than was recorded in December 1999, when the tragedy of Vargas occurred. We have had to face a national emergency of extreme complexity, where our priority has been the preservation of the life of our people.
The situation has been particularly critical in the states of Falcón, Vargas, Miranda and the Capital District. But the effects of the rains were also felt in the states of Anzoátegui, Sucre, Nueva Esparta, Carabobo, Yaracuy, Zulia and Trujillo. We regret the painful loss of 32 precious human lives.
The Bolivarian government as a whole, our Armed Force and the organized people are confronting the emergency with the utmost determination.
The disaster hurts us and, therefore, it requires us to demonstrate the highest ethical fibre, and continue fighting without rest, until a good life becomes the happy reality for the compatriots who have lost their dreams and expectations in water and mud. Faced with this debacle, I take my hand to my heart; I suffer with the pain of thousands, and multiply my unflagging commitment to the poorest of this country. I have felt once again the people’s clamour like a drumroll of conscience in shelters such as those in La Pedrera, Fort Tiuna, Miraflores, the Fabricio Ojeda Endogenous Center, in Tucacas, and in Boca de Tocuyo.
With each flood, with every falling hill, with each shack that falls apart, leaving large numbers of Venezuelans in the streets, the suffering of a people emerges: A people that has resisted by showing its infinite greatness even in situations of great oblivion; a people forced to live in inhumane conditions, and to suffer an immense injustice under the most cruel indifference. We have lived, as I pointed out this week, one hundred years of solitude.
But today the people are not alone; we will not rest until we reverse so much damage, so much anguish and suffering. I say this from a hope that has begun to come true: The day will come when dignity and justice fully reign among us and the social nightmare that we inherited will fall into oblivion; we are struggling to make it disappear forever.
From these lines, I want to express my immense Bolivarian gratitude to comrade Evo Morales, his Government and the brotherly people of Bolivia for the solidarity and assistance they have provided.
I can not help mentioning the ethically repugnant behavior of those who, from the media sewers, use the misfortune for political advantage by talking trash against the government. What a lack of patriotic shame!
We have been multiplying spaces to shelter thousands of affected families. Now, there are over 70,000 Venezuelans who are being assisted at the shelters. We will do everything we have to do to make them feel at home. Especially the children – now that we are in December – will have a real and truly happy Christmas.
These compatriots must leave the shelters not to the same places marked by the great risk of losing their lives, but to decent houses. They will enjoy a good life and stop suffering every time the rains come. I dare ask them to be patient; I say it from the pain I am feeling because I know that patience is all the poor have had in this life.
Let’s not forget that as Bolivar called himself "the man of difficulties." We, his children, his sons and daughters, can call ourselves the people of difficulties.
I call upon the National Assembly to expedite the final approval of the Emergency Law on Urban Land and Housing, which was approved in a first discussion. We have to legislate and act with celerity in this situation.
Certainly, it is necessary to build houses at a pace that requires the satisfaction of the demand. I ask the conscious private sector to join forces with the Bolivarian Government and maximize responsiveness to the structural problem of housing: it's time for them to fully assume their social responsibility.
I want to recall an important announcement I made this week. Last Thursday, I approved over US $ 953.4 million to build 22,162 houses in the states of Vargas, Miranda and the Capital District.
I want to consider things at your side, you, compatriots who read me, so that we can truly understand the hard and difficult times we are experiencing. The ecological imbalance created by the development model of capital is undoubtedly the root cause of the alarming atmospheric phenomena that we are suffering on the planet.
The world's most powerful economies insist on carrying out a destructive model of life and then they are unable to assume their responsibility.
Nobody escapes the reactions of nature after so much abuse. The arrogance of the owners of the world systematically violates ecological limits without regard to humanity and the planet, which are increasingly vulnerable.
The calamities we are suffering with these harsh and prolonged rains are further evidence that we are facing again and unfair and cruel global paradox: The most developed countries irresponsibly break without measure the environmental order in their eagerness to maintain a criminal development model, while the vast majority of the peoples of the earth suffer the most terrible consequences.
On the other hand, I must say that everything said so far adds to a terrible reality: The precarious conditions in which many of our people live, especially in the slums of major cities where houses in inappropriate and high-risk areas have been built.
Our cities and our neighbourhoods were designed by following and obeying exclusively economic interests, without the slightest sense of urban planning, violating all safety norms and deliberately ignoring humans. Let’s recall and learn from our pain; let’s remember the tragedy of Vargas and all the burden of death and destruction brought by that painful December 1999.
We inherited an enormous burden of social injustice accumulated by the apathy of the puntofijismo* governments, in addition to an exclusionary design of a country that favoured the concentration of capital in cities. This resulted in disorderly settlements in urban areas with an unbalanced occupation of its territory: Leveled spaces for the wealthiest, and hills for the poor. It also created a perverse cultural model which established that poverty was a natural, normal, inevitable reality that we had to accept by turning our backs on it.
We are at a historical turning point: We must speed up the birth of the socialist city, the city of good living and good life, by giving life to a new sense of territorial planning, which follows closely the preservation of common good and collective welfare. That time, that model in which the vast majority was spatially excluded must die along with the capitalist city, which only reproduces and reproduces spaces of segregation.
When this new edition of The Lines of Chávez is published, regional elections will be held to elect governors of the states of Guárico and Amazonas, and mayors of Maracaibo and Miranda (Zulia state), Achaguas (Apure state), Miranda (Carabobo state), Carrizal (Miranda state), Panamericano (Táchira state), Miranda and Boconó (Trujillo state), Manuel Monge and Nirgua (Yaracuy state) and Arismendi (Nueva Esparta state).
I call on everybody there to vote, express their sovereign will at the ballot boxes, and continue strengthening the model of participatory and protagonist democracy.
December moves on!
Let’s beg God for the rains to stop…
And let’s get ready to receive Christmas in family.
The year 2010 is finishing, as well as the first decade of this century.
The year 2011 is coming… July 5th!
We shall overcome!
Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías / Sunday, December 5, 2010
*Puntofijismo refers to the Punto Fijo Pact, which was an agreement signed on October 31, 1958 by the Democratic Republican Union (URD), Social Christian (Copei), and Democratic Action (Acción Democrática, AD) parties. This agreement bound these parties to limit Venezuela’s political system to an exclusive competition between two parties (AD and Copei).