Venezuela: Socialists Shut Down Caracas City Hall, Leaving Garbage-Filled Streets

A man crosses a street blocked with garbage bags during a protest against Maduro in Caracas, on May 2, 2017. Armed "collectives" pressure low income urban dwellers from joining the protest movement, forcing them to share the view of the ruling Socialists United Party that the political opposition is orchestrating …
FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images

The Venezuelan capital of Caracas is drowning in garbage after socialist officials dissolved the city government. There are reportedly no plans to restart basic municipal functions like collecting waste.

El Nacional reports that, since the imprisonment of Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma and the installation of an illegal lawmaking body known as the “national constituent assembly,” the city’s environmental planning has been left in “legal, labor, and administrative limbo.” As a result, tons of garbage and landfill are left strewn across the city, with no current plans to clean them up.

“The greatest damage that has been done with the elimination of the Metropolitan City Hall is the environmental aspects. Without this body, the problem remains unattended to. There is no one to take care of the environment in the city and this is crucial because it represents the future,” said Saskia Chapellín, a landscape architect and professor at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism of the University of Central Venezuela (UCV).

“We have now been set back to the 1960’s, before the creation of environmental agencies,” added Antonio De Lisio, an expert in urban development at UCV. “Caracas must be managed as a metropolis because of dimensions it has acquired over time, including its population density and flow and the needs that have arisen from this.”

A report from Breitbart News last June outlined the widespread problem of unattended waste, with almost every Caracas street corner covered in stacks of waste, some of it in black bags and other items in limbo such as water bottles, diapers, and food waste.

Amid the country’s worsening economic and humanitarian crisis, waste has also become a common resource for the increasing number of scavengers forced to rifle through garbage for anything ranging from uneaten food to used sanitary products.

Venezuela’s problems with managing landfill are well-documented. Despite the late president Hugo Chávez introducing some environmental initiatives to promote conservation and sustainable development, the country has consistently lacked an effective recycling policy.

“The fundamental problem has been planning, which has stagnated the solid wage management systems [in Venezuela] for 20 years, because in the past two decades, the exact same thing has been done despite the evolution of technology as well as recycling measures that have evolved,” UCV professor Juan Carlos Sánchez explained in a 2016 presentation.

The environmental crisis also exposes people to serious health risks, given the strong presence of the Zika virus in Venezuela. However, health officials have declined to publish figures on the number Zika victims or the consequences of their environmental failures, with Colombia’s Health Minister previously accusing the regime of “an epidemiological silence” on the issue.

Amid the current environmental mayhem, Venezuela also remains a signatory of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, and with leader Nicolás Maduro even accusing President Donald Trump of “turning his back on the world” when he announced that the United States would leave it.

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