Sunday, April 02, 2006

Redistributing the Apartments

Malcolm X once said that revolutions are the reaction of the landless to the landlords. In Venezuela, Hugo Chavez's Bolivarian Revolution has taken new steps to give poor citizens access to housing. Currently, about 940,000 families live in overcrowded and unsafe conditions in Venezuela as a result of years of neglect by the government. At the same time, real estate prices have risen by 35%. The only affordable solution for poor Venezuelans is to rent an apartment or home. Caracas Mayor Juan Barreto is purchasing 400 apartment buildings and transferring the buildings ownership to the tenants. Barreto says, “The business of renting is legitimate, but it can’t be indefinite because eventually it becomes predatory. The buildings which have been paid for 5 times over should be put on the market for their inhabitants who find themselves perpetually renting." The government is also taking steps to build as many as 150,000 new homes by the end of the year.

Hopefully we'll see the United States government take steps to provide similar relief to poor families in the United States. Currently, families account for between 60% to 70% of homeless Americans. These families are forced into crowded homeless shelters that usually can't provide kids with the needed foundation for proper development. Support Hugo Chavez's revolution in Venezuela and in turn, the disenfranchised in America.