“The tragedy brought about by the torrential rains of December 1999 on El Litoral, the narrow coastal region near Caracas, completely changes the pace of our lives, which underwent an enormous upheavel. As a result, our priorities changed. We felt the urge to do something, to cooperate, to participate[…]
Venezuela were overwhelmed, dumbfounded, struck powerless, while watching these fiction-like horror scenes on television. A mixture of incredulity, fear and anguish invaded our hearts and souls. As for those on the other side of the screen, the victims of the tragedy, they became the source and reason for our painful reaction. It was mandatory to help however we could.”
This passage written by architect Oscar Grauer, from the introduction to a book about the projects designed to implement the reconstruction of El Litoral by an interdisciplinary team from the Universidad Metropolitana in Caracas, Venezuela, and Harvard’s Design School, shows what we thought in the aftermath of the tragic Vargas floods that inundated substantial areas along the coastline of Venezuela in December 15 and 16, 1999: “It was mandatory to help however we could“, and we did the best we could although, at the beginning, we didn’t know exactly how to go about it.
But there was one that didn’t do what everybody expected to. One that after the tragedy, hid for days before he showed his face . One that didn’t accept international help because he thought he was omnipotent himself. One that had the duty of take care of victims and organize the emergency plans and future reconstruction. One that left the site and the survivors alone to their fate. One that was the president of the republic. The president of Venezuela. Mr. Hugo Chávez Frias.
Here I show some pictures I took few days after the tragedy in an oficial visit we did in the begining of the project we tried to develop to rebuild the towns devastated and their territory. This project didn’t get its goal because there was no political will. It wasn’t in Mr. Chavez plans for his socialist paradise to help them. He was absolutely wrong, as he used to be, and for the last 5.109 days, since December 15, 1999, people in El Litoral lives everyday this mistake.