Added by James Morley on December 1, 2010
Some 25 families made homeless following torrential rains in Venezuela have been invited by socialist leader, Hugo Chavez, to take up temporary residence at his presidential palace Miraflores in Caracas.
Weeks of heavy rains causing flooding and mudslides have killed more than a dozen people and forced thousands from their homes.
In response, Chavez said he would arrange for some of his security staff to make available their quarters, and he would himself give up one of his offices: “I have three offices, the second one can be turned into three little apartments. They’re going to start moving in,” he said on Venezuelan state TV on Sunday.
Although his supporters are praising his efforts in helping the poor; critics argue that he is using “gimmicky measures” to seek votes when he should be focusing on addressing the underlying problems faced by the country’s poor.
Chavez has been criticized for his failure to provide adequate housing during his 11 years in power.
However, he puts the blame on his free-market predecessors, as well as private entrepreneurs, who, according to Chavez, are putting profit before the greater good in their construction projects.
The National Assembly has also announced that it will make space available in parliament to temporarily shelter victims of the heavy rains.