Sunday, January 30, 2005

housing problem in Venezuela

After reading Miguel Octavio's post on the housing shortage in Venezuela (read it here
http://blogs.salon.com/0001330/2005/01/30.html#a2052) I have decided to write about a conversation I had with my Dad and a cousin of mine (he works at a architectural firm in Venezuela) when I was in Venezuela about this problem.

Some time ago he proposed a housing solution to the Chavez government, which could drastically reduce the housing crisis in a few years time and it would require minimal investment by the government. The plan was to have the government pay my cousin to distribute bamboo (an Asian species that currently grows in Venezuela) to the poor for them to farm and teach them to how to use it to build homes. Based on his estimates 1 hectare of bamboo could initially supply up to 5 homes after ~2-3 years. The poor, in particular in rural areas, could grow, then harvest, and sell the bamboo or even build homes (thus they now would have their own business). This proposal was laid out as a short term solution that was cheap for the government and have no cost for the poor since they would not need to purchase the bamboo (supplied for free along with housing plans) and the poor would be trained on how to construct the homes, and the bamboo requires from minimal to no care. From what I was told it is modeled after what many Asian countries do.

Sadly the proposal was rejected for one obvious reason, my cousin signed against Chavez in the petition drive for the Referendum, he also lost other contracts. Other reasons is that such a proposal would make the poor not have to rely on the government for housing, which is not in the interest of the government since socialist/communist states need there population to rely on the state. Also the government is not interested in fixing the social problems in the country, since we are now 6 years with Chavez and have mediocre results at best.