Caracas, Venezuela: From 1900 to Today

Caracas, Venezuela - From 1900 to Today

According to Youremailverifier, Caracas was still a small agricultural city in the center of which commerce was developed, with low-rise buildings and red roofs. During the first three decades of this century some advances were introduced for the city and few public works were carried out.

In 1904 the first automobile was driven through the city, the vehicle, which was the first to arrive in the country, was ordered to be brought from France by President Cipriano Castro, who was its rightful owner, although it was intended for the use of the first lady., Ms. Zoila Rosa Martínez.

In 1908, President Castro suffered from an illness, for which he was forced to travel to Europe to undergo surgery and begin medical treatment, meanwhile in Caracas General Juan Vicente Gómez, Castro’s compadre and right-hand man, promoted a coup de State against the government, ignoring the constitution and establishing the strongest dictatorship that the country has ever experienced in all its history. During the so-called “gomecismo” the first plane flew over Caracas piloted by Frank Boland, and few infrastructure works were inaugurated, all this coupled with the high rate of corruption, poverty, malnutrition and diseases that plagued the nation.

When Gómez died in 1935, the city barely had 136 thousand residents and it is from 1936 [4] when the modernization process of Caracas begins, which is consolidated between 1950 and 1960, giving it the current characteristics of the city. [5]

During the first year of the mandate of President Eleazar López Contreras, several urban plans were presented for the reorganization of Caracas, the government decided to hire a group of French architects to order the future expansion of the city. In 1939 they approved the Monumental Plan of Caracas, popularly known as the Rotival Plan, which among some of its proposals highlighted the rearrangement of the historic center, the construction of government buildings within a central axis of the city, the construction of wide avenues and the widening of the existing ones. However, the government did not approve the plan in its entirety, but only the road plan, so in the end it could not be fully implemented.

At the beginning of the decade of 1940 President Isaias Medina Angarita ordered the start of construction of the University City of Caracas, today declared World Heritage by UNESCO. During the following years of the oil boom, the rural exodus began and the arrival of a significant number of European immigrants, mostly Spanish, Italians and Portuguese, to Caracas, due to the misery and famine that the postwar period would have left in the old continent.

In 1951, the government of Germán Suárez Flamerich hired Maurice Rotival and the group of French architects who projected the Rotival Plan in 1939, to produce a new urban redevelopment plan in the capital, with a much more modern and rationalist theoretical base than the previous one. That same year they created the Regulatory Plan, an ambitious road plan that prior to the construction of more than a dozen avenues and large highways with their symbolic distributors, the idea of ​​making such a city was to decongest and distribute the population, to make from Caracas a healthier city. [6]

The arrival to power of the dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez in 1952 and his developmentalist model consolidated the changes that began in the city from 1936 on and brought a very important contribution to the modernization of the infrastructure.

During the Perezjimenista government, important measures were implemented to transform the physical environment of the city. In this way, works were built such as the Caracas Cable Car, the Humboldt Hotel, the Tamanaco Hotel, the Caracas-La Guaira Highway and the Los Próceres, Los Ilustres and Los Precursors public promenades. The construction of works such as El Helicoide began and others such as the Simón Bolívar Center and the University City of Caracas were completed., as well as numerous hospitals and urbanizations. In addition, through the Regulatory Plan, a very important road system was concluded in the capital, consisting of a network of highways, elevated roads, avenues and road distributors.

The 29 of July of 1967 during the celebration of the cuatricentenario of the city, an earthquake of 6.5 degrees on the Richter magnitude scale with epicenter in the central coast, north of Caracas, he shook the city for about 35 seconds, minutes Later, a new earthquake of less intensity and duration occurred, the Quatricentennial Earthquake as it is known, left more than 236 citizens dead (although unofficial means gave a balance of more than 400 dead), another hundreds disappeared, two thousand injured and one thousand material damage. millionaires. [7] [8]

In the early 1980s, important infrastructure works were completed such as the Parque Central Complex (which became the largest housing complex and tallest towers in Latin America although with major maintenance deficiencies), the Teresa Carreño Theater (the largest cultural center in South America), the Brígido Iriarte Stadium and the United Nations Park. In addition, the Metro de Caracas mass transportation system was partially inaugurated in 1983, in connection with the IX Pan-American and Caribbean Games, which were held that year in Caracas.

During the days 27 February and 28 of February of 1989 a series of strong protests, instead occurred in Caracas, this popular movement was called as the Caracazo, and produced by the rejection of the population of socioeconomic measures ordered by the President Carlos Andrés Pérez (including the increase in the cost of gasoline, services and public transport). Faced with the overwhelming violence, the government declared the restriction of constitutional guarantees and ordered the militarization of the capital, as well as other cities in the interior that joined the protest. The violence was crushed with more violence by the military and police forces, who had been authorized to use weapons of war, in order to repress the demonstrations and control public order. Days later, the government officially counted hundreds of deaths among civilians and military personnel only in Caracas, however this figure could be much higher.

In June 1989, the Organic Law of Municipal Regime was decreed, so that the old Districts became autonomous Municipalities, with elected mayors. In the same way, the creation of the Libertador, Sucre and Baruta municipalities, which previously functioned as Districts or Departments, and the creation of the parishes or local entities that make them up were set.

In 1992 the municipalities El Hatillo, which until then belonged to the jurisdiction of Baruta, and Chacao, dependent until then on Sucre, were created.

In 1999, the new Constitution was approved that legalizes the creation of the Metropolitan District of Caracas, and that brings together the five capital municipalities in a decentralized political-spatial unit under a first district authority, known as the Mayor. It is established that the former Federal District now becomes the Capital District and autonomy is granted to the Vargas State, which previously depended on the defunct Federal District. In 2000, the Mayor was elected for the first time under direct and secret elections.

Caracas, Venezuela - From 1900 to Today