Friday, July 26, 2013

15 years of triumphant chavista Bolibanana Revolution and I only got that rancho

When I moved to San Felipe, Rafael Caldera had managed to do about half the the highway between San Felipe and Moron, with a bankrupt country. After 14 years of chavismo flush with cash, only a couple more exits have been added in what is perhaps the second most used road of Venezuela. Thus the last stretch between Moron and the highway is still about 12 Km of the two way original road, clogged with jalopy buses, trucks of all sorts carrying all the goods from Puerto Cabello to Barquisimeto and the Andes. And to enter the highway, you need to go through about half a mile of what is a dirt road, or rather of original country side lane turned into dirt by the big traffic.

The natives have gotten into the habit of selling crap to the passing truckers who of course stop to talk to the tightly to scantily clad girls selling them little cups of coffee from a thermos. Meanwhile you wait patiently for the transaction and small talk to be over.  But these points that develop rather fast each time a a new exit is incorporated in the highway, are also the nuclei of some new, shall we call it, settlement.

The one I picture here has caught my fancy. Finally using my powerful zoom I managed to take that picture the other day, ever so slightly blurred in the second image which is a cut out of the original one that opens this post (already quite reduced). After all, I could not stop my car, and I had to take the picture while climbing up the dirt road access to the highway.

The first shot is, of course, an "invasion" at the side of the road, which has not stopped the new owner to surround it with a fence. "Invasores" are born landowners, you know... Click to enlarge.

You may note on the bottom right the edge of my rear side window, a shaded stand that is probably put to some use on week ends, and a DIRECT TV SATELLITE DISH!!!!!  The house may be built on mud and straw but electricity is stolen from somewhere and they got a Direct TV decoder. Not for them to satisfy themselves with VTV and RNV that run for free in that area, the only thing the locals can get there.

The second pic shows more details of this native "mision vivienda", where the guys have even planted palm trees and some flowering bush.  If this were one of the few unique folksy expressions of Venezuela we could be amused. Unfortunately, after 14 years of chavismo and now almost 3 of Mision Vivienda, such scenes are closer to the norm than the exception.

What a beautiful revolution......

NOTE: if that last bit of highway had been done, not only it would save me at the very least 15 minutes from my trip to Caracas, but it would improve greatly the living conditions of the Moron inhabitants who still voted 70% for Maduro. How ironic!  Amen that sometimes crossing Moron can take 30 minutes or more.... depending what time of the day you attempt that crossing.  But see if I care, they deserve what they got, if you ask me.


  1. By gawd we'll build it right here and we'll build it like my great, great, great grandfather built his, modified wattle and daub. Not the best method for a wet earthquake zone, but still it keeps the rains off and the dawgs out (usually). Was there a garden? Please tell me there was a garden. You really can't keep humans down.

    1. Well, they do have chickens.....

      At any rate, the diet is lousy, "carne de tercera", chicken and carbohydrates from corn meal or tropical roots like yuca. For this social educational level onion is a vegetable enough that you dress up with garlic and tomato. A garden? My good man......

    2. HalfEmpty,

      Have you experienced the heat in the interior of Venezuela? From what I have experienced the mud houses are cooler, and cheap to build and rebuild.You also can see from the foto,that there are flowers, palms and greenery.My experience in Venezuela is that everything grows so fast and so easily that if you plant too much your house will be over-run.I once had a passion fruit vine overtake my rather large house in about 6 months and it took quite some effort to cut it down, not to mention that it brought snakes( another consideration ).Vegetable gardens also attracts rats and other creatures. Rats just love Yuca…and how do they water vegetables without running water?Once you live in these places you begin to see that people usually do the best with what they have.firepigette

    3. I have not experienced the heat of the interior of Venezuela, just a few windless days on the coast. I am familiar with serious heat tho, as I live in the interior of Florida. You are absolutely correct about the cooling power of wattle & daub, I've built one reconstruction of a Spanish colonist and repaired others, they are always cooler than you expect. Evaporation and shade, but yeah, spiders too.

      Here's a church I helped out on (I don't do thatch0, opps, no IMG tag allowed. How about... this:

    4. Beautiful church HalfEmpty, and I adore the Live Oaks


  2. Anonymous8:26 AM

    What this photo accents is the lack of material available for construction. Reverting back to mud and sticks due to shortages of blocks and concrete, unless you are one of the opportunistas with their new money who can afford to pay ten times the norm for the few materials that can be found.


    1. There is more to it.

      These guys sensed an opportunity, to take a plot of land and make a profit out of it. Either their road stand will bring them something or eventually when the authorities that were unable and unwilling to stop their land grab will have to pay them off when they will build the highway exchange there. This is how the West was settled, people going ahead of the railroads to grab land, setting their shacks in weird places that sometimes had to be bought out. As such it does not matter whether the building is adobe or bricks, the real value is what you will get from the land someday.

    2. Anonymous7:15 PM

      "These guys sensed an opportunity, to take a plot of land and make a profit out of it." History of mankind, init?

    3. Concerned - I don't think this photo shows "the lack of building material" as you say. This consteuction system is called "bahareque" and it's one of the most traditional methods is Venezuela and the caribbean. It has many advantages, flexible and fresh. It's still used as the preferred building system in rural areas.

  3. I think I'd rather live there than in a barrio.

  4. Charly3:36 PM

    Easy to figure out how they can afford satellite reception. A couple of year back on that stretch leading to Mojon my wife and familly stuck in the long line of Tucacas weekenders were robbed by two teenagers with hand guns. I was told it is common practice. Maybe I should go there and torch the place. Coming to think of it, I think I should torch Mojon. No great loss.

    1. Ain't that something that so many of us call Moron Mojon.....

    2. And remember this

  5. It's funny Im not in Venezuela for long and I know exactly which stretch of highway you are talking about. It's a death trap driving there at night going to Barquisimeto, no paint on the ground, no reflectors, dangerous driving conditions..

  6. At least they have a corrugated sheet metal roof. In Tanzania, in the small villages, a sheet metal roof was a sign that the family was very well-to-do. Normal people had thatch roofs that had to be rebuilt every couple of years.

  7. Anonymous8:20 AM

    Beautiful, in the eyes of the chubby and rosy Europeans who romanticize tropical radical socialism, incl. of course the right to access of "free" electricity and satellite TV signals.

    1. Charly1:20 PM

      He Anon, you mean to say the Progressives? Uh!


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