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Lamenting the Decline of Caracas, Once the 'Jewel of Latin America'
Tom Phillips reports fromCaracas, Venezuela:
In 1998, as the setting for his election celebrations, Chávez chose the balcony of the Teresa Carreño, a spectacular, brutalist style cultural centre. Built during the 1970s oil boom and reminiscent of London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, it has hosted stars such as Dizzy Gillespie, George Benson, Ray Charles and Luciano Pavarotti, and epitomised the country’s new ambition. “Venezuela is reborn,” Chávez declared.
Twenty years after that upbeat address, an economic cataclysm experts blame on ill-conceived socialist policies, staggering corruption and the post-2014 slump in oil prices has given Caracas the air of a sinking ship.