I guess it is very dangerous to have Hugo Chavez not be busy with his politicking. Yesterday he said he would let people rest from politics until next year, which allowed him to come up with another one of his whims as he announced today that he would like to expropriate and nationalize the building of the huge new Sambil Mall in La Candelaria, located right where Avenida Urdaneta begins near dowtown Caracas.
There are many reasons while Chavez’ new whim reaches new heights of stupidity and the capricious nature of his decisions:
First of all, the Mall was conceived and designed during Chavez’ tenure as President and the approvals came from the Mayors of Libertador District and the Metropolitan area of Caracas who were not only Chavez’ buddies, but got there because Chavze wanted them to get there.
Second, this Mall, built exclusively with private sector funds, was aimed at the poorest sectors of Venezuelan society. After building the Sambil in the East of Caracas and others in Margarita, Maracaibo and San Cristobal, the Cohen group decided to go for it and built this mall oriented towards the lower classes and placing it in a business area which ahs deteriorated in the belief that it will improve it and will allow people to spend their time safely at their mall. (And yes, make some money in the process!!!)
But the stupidest reason of all is: What will he do with it now? Here is a man that is incapable of finishing or even building anything right and he plans to stop the building of the mall to turn it into a Hospital a unversity or a school? is he high? How long will it take? How much will it cost? How much corruption money will be involved? Will he ever pay the rightful owners sufficiently to compensate for their investment, time and planning?
Then of course is the usual problem: Who will invest in Venezuela now when even things like just the building of a mall are being taken over by an incompetent, destructive and voracious Government?
Finally, it shows how Chavez is so isolated that this Sambil Mall is being completed now, less than 2 Kms. away from the Miraflores Presidential Palaca where Chavez hides out. But by now Huguito is so paranoid that he barely steps out of it. He is no longer the man of the “people” who used to walk the streets and talk to them. He only goes out by helicopter, surrounded by ever increasing circles of protection to fend off his fears of an attack on his life, protected by a clique that tels him everything is fine.
And coming up with crazy whims and ideas that in the end will only make him less popular.
(I was going to post a google maps picture of the mall, but the ggogle picture still shows just a parking lot)