Fruto Vivas and the Farruco doctrine

5461609_copia.520.360Well-known Venezuelan architect Fruto Vivas (seen in the photo) has been in the news lately: one of his most famous works, the former Venezuelan pavillion of the Expo 2000 (known as “the flower of Venezuela”)  has been front and center in the ongoing political battle between Lara State governor Henri Falcon and the central government after it was vandalized by PSUV supporters.

But Vivas (who sympathizes with el proceso) had also some harsh words about the current state of the capital Caracas and the current approach of massive construction projects now been implemented by the State minister in charge of “the revolutionary transformation of Caracas” (and self-declared MS Paint aficionado) Francisco “Farruco” Sesto.

For example, Vivas was very critical of the mammoth project known as Ciudad Tiuna:

“How you can solve the exit problem for the people (who will live) in Fuerte Tiuna? Where will the cars come out? The trash? How you can solve it? Starving to death inside a brand new home is still starving to death. How you can put there a large amount of people who don’t have a job? The apartments are of good quality and they’re fully furnished. But the worst part is that they lack parks or public services. They don’t belong to an urban structure, but simply they’re put there a lo macho…

Sesto himself dismissed Vivas’s criticisms in Aporrea, where he insisted in the viablilty of the projects out of “revolutionary obligation”. For him “… it’s not a matter of architecture nor urban planning, but a matter of humanity”. After all, he’s simply following the orders left by none other than the comandante supremo.

Before his beef with Mr. Vivas, Sesto went even further during a recent interview with El Nacional. In it, he admitted that some mistakes were made in the development of the G.M.V.V. housing plan in the capital but that the plan would go on anyway, regardless of present and future consequences. He already has new expropiated lands to his disposal to keep it going.

This could be called “the Farruco doctrine”: just keep on building, no matter what happens.

But this line of thought isn’t reserved for housing projects. Case in point: the recent announcement by Nicolas Maduro of a brand new deal with a Portuguese company (chosen without any public bidding process) to build the second Caracas-La Guaira highway.

Some experts have complained that the project is too expensive (US$4.7 billion), very complicated (10 tunnels, 7 viaducts and 4 interchanges) and pretty risky, as its proposed route goes across the Tacagua fault line… twice.

Yet the project is still a go, according to Ground Transportation Minister Haiman El Troudi, who sees it simply as an issue of “political will”.