Venezuela to crush cars, bikes to build houses

CARACAS Tue Apr 29, 2014 5:55pm EDT

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela said on Tuesday it would start crushing abandoned cars and bicycles to provide raw materials for housing construction and supplement drastically reduced amounts of local steel.

"We have sent 10,485 automobiles, 9,651 motorbikes and 539 bicycles to the national steel industry," Maria Martinez, a deputy justice minister, said during a visit to an abandoned car deposit outside Caracas.

That quantity of steel, she said, could be used for rebars, which reinforce concrete, in the construction of tens of thousands of housing units.

In one of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez's most popular policies, the "Great Venezuelan Housing Mission," authorities built or refurbished more than 250,000 housing units in 2012 for low-income families. That fell to around 150,000 last year.

Production of rebars in March 2014 was at an 18-year monthly low of 8,796 tonnes, down from 46,051 tonnes in March last year.

Venezuelan steelmaker Sidor has an installed annual capacity of 5 million tonnes, but output has declined since its nationalization six years ago due to frequent protests and insufficient investment.

Total steel output reached a 16-year low of 1.5 million tonnes in 2012, and was only slightly higher at 1.6 million in 2013.

The steelmaker's problems are part of a general malaise in the South American OPEC nation's once-buoyant metals industry.

(Reporting by Diego Ore; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Toni Reinhold)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (14)
TommyFreedom wrote:
In big American central cities, we use the abandoned cars as homes. It is an American legacy under Comrade Leader Obama.

Apr 30, 2014 1:10pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Ain’t communism grand?

Apr 30, 2014 1:33pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
jackak wrote:
They should just park those old cars on the street and let the people sleep in them. Cut out the middleman.

Apr 30, 2014 2:18pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Photo

California's historic drought

With reservoirs at record lows, California is in the midst of the worst drought in decades.  Slideshow