Your typical Venezuelan highway

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Recent events forced me to travel more than once to Valencia and Puerto Cabello ON the main highway that connects Lara, Yaracuy and Carabobo. As you can see in the slideshow, the current conditions are far from ideal.

An autobahn it ain’t, that’s for sure. But the history of this highway underlines one of the most urgent problems Venezuela must confront in the inmediate future: The collapse of our basic infrastructure, especially of our highways and main roads. Last year alone, the money allocated by the State to improve them was pretty insuficient.

The Center-West Highway (Autopista Centro-Occidental) was started in 1970, during the first Presidency of Rafael Caldera. For the Yaracuy State-native, this road was a personal acccomplishment of great importance. Years passed and the construction work advanced slowly. But even if its conclussion was far from over, the highway itself was renamed with the name of the the president who opened it.

Until Chavismo’s obsession with name-changing every single thing came along…

In 2009, current Yaracuy State Governor Julio Leon Heredia ordered by decree that the name of the highway changed from Rafael Caldera to Cimarron Andresote. Who was he, you might ask? A local man who defended and traded slaves, who led the first known slave revolt against the Spanish (represented by the Compañía Guipuzcoana de Caracas, which had the monopoly of all trade, including in slaves).

Even with a brand new name, the highway is still not finished 42 years on.