Tuesday, November 27, 2007

CAESAR CHAVEZ'S CITY IN THE JUNGLE--WHAT GOD COULD HAVE DONE IF HE'D ONLY HAD THE MONEY

Chávez's 'Socialist City' Rises First of Several Grand Projects in Venezuela Reflects Leader's Monopoly on Big Decisions

By Juan Forero Washington Post Foreign Service Tuesday, November 27, 2007; A10

CAMINO DE LOS INDIOS, Venezuela -- Like most ambitious state projects in oil-rich Venezuela, the new city being built in the thickly wooded mountains here began as a whim of President Hugo Chávez's.

Flying in his helicopter north of Caracas over forests filled with monkeys and tropical birds, the president suddenly had a eureka moment -- he would carve a self-sustaining, self-contained city from the wilderness. Chávez envisioned this as the first of several utopian cities, a bold plan reflecting both Venezuela's capacity for undertaking ambitious projects and the president's growing propensity for making all major decisions.

"He told me, 'I want to see if it's possible,' " recalled Ramón Carrizales, minister of housing. "So we began to explore it, and we found vast tracts that could be utilized."

. . . The president's allies control Congress, the Central Bank and every other major institution. And with the price of oil approaching $100 a barrel, Chávez has the economic muscle along with the political might to carry out his biggest dreams.

"Everyone here knows that no one advises Chávez," said Luis Miquilena, a former interior minister and mentor to Chávez who has since broken with him. "Chávez is the one who decides everything."

--read entire article--

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Megalomania attached to $100 a barrel oil will build a new city in Venezuela, an answer to Brazilia, but this one in the jungle. Will Chavez name it after himself and move the capitol there?

Who knows?

But if the sheikhs of the United Arab Emirates can exercise their egos by creating Dubai, why not?

With a nod in the direction of Dorothy Parker, who made the original remark about Hearst Castle, "it just shows you what God could have done, if he'd only had the money."


* For more in-depth articles by Jim on Outside America, check out Opinion-Columns.com