Chavez to Mall: Váyase!
Posted on Dec 24, 2008
Nothing says full of yourself like ordering a Venezuelan mayor to halt construction of a near-complete shopping mall after passing by it in a car. Obviously, President Hugo Chavez has a bit of a ego, though his suggestion to use the facility as a university or hospital, not as a monument to consumption and capitalism, does seem a bit more just.
Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chávez, has halted the construction of a shopping mall in the capital and announced that the prime block of urban real estate should be expropriated after being shocked at the “monster” development.
In his Sunday address Chávez said he was heading through downtown Caracas when he was shocked by the sight of a huge, nearly-finished mall amid the high-rise offices and apartments. “They had already built a monster there,” Chávez said. “I passed by there just recently and said, ‘What is this? My God!’ ”
He ordered the local mayor to halt construction, and suggested the sprawling six-storey building might be put to better use as a hospital or university. The new Sambil mall was scheduled to open in the La Candelaria district early next year, packed with 273 shops, cinemas and offices. Chávez complained that it would add more traffic to an area that was already so crowded “not a soul fits”.
Chavez halted construction of a mall in a wealthy area of Caracas this week, further exacerbating his relationship with Venezuela’s elite.