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Pictures | Fri Jun 3, 2011 | 11:10am EDT

Venezuela's housing crisis

<p>New government-made housing project is seen from the top of Las Mayas slum with a view of the city of Caracas in the background May 26, 2011. Despite being in power for 12 years and bringing plenty of new schools and clinics to poor areas, Chavez has failed to fix Venezuela's housing shortfall -- currently at 2 million units. That, say critics, demonstrates the failure of socialism in Venezuela, where the 500,000 new homes built during Chavez's rule, about two-thirds by the private sector, is no better than the rate of construction under his predecessors. Not surprisingly, Chavez has sought to take the initiative with a new "Grand Housing Mission" -- his eighth such construction plan -- aiming to build 2 million new units by 2017 with funds available from higher global oil prices.  REUTERS/Jorge Silva </p>

New government-made housing project is seen from the top of Las Mayas slum with a view of the city of Caracas in the background May 26, 2011. Despite being in power for 12 years and bringing plenty of new schools and clinics to poor areas, Chavez has...more

New government-made housing project is seen from the top of Las Mayas slum with a view of the city of Caracas in the background May 26, 2011. Despite being in power for 12 years and bringing plenty of new schools and clinics to poor areas, Chavez has failed to fix Venezuela's housing shortfall -- currently at 2 million units. That, say critics, demonstrates the failure of socialism in Venezuela, where the 500,000 new homes built during Chavez's rule, about two-thirds by the private sector, is no better than the rate of construction under his predecessors. Not surprisingly, Chavez has sought to take the initiative with a new "Grand Housing Mission" -- his eighth such construction plan -- aiming to build 2 million new units by 2017 with funds available from higher global oil prices. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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<p>Three-year-old Leyerly stand at the door of her shack in Las Mayas slum in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva </p>

Three-year-old Leyerly stand at the door of her shack in Las Mayas slum in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

Three-year-old Leyerly stand at the door of her shack in Las Mayas slum in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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<p>Martha walks at her wooden house at the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva </p>

Martha walks at her wooden house at the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

Martha walks at her wooden house at the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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<p>Graffiti of hands are seen on the wall of a destroyed shack in the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. The hillside slum of "Las Mayas" provides both great vistas of Caracas and an ideal view of a housing crisis shaping into a major battleground for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's re-election bid. Along one side of the once-forested slopes, shacks of corrugated iron, wood and mud cling precariously to land that erodes a little bit further whenever it rains, and at the bottom of the valley lies a possible solution: rows of neat red-brick apartments that are part of Chavez's vision of new "Socialist Cities", designed to end the South American nation's housing shortage while promoting communal living. REUTERS/Jorge Silva </p>

Graffiti of hands are seen on the wall of a destroyed shack in the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. The hillside slum of "Las Mayas" provides both great vistas of Caracas and an ideal view of a housing crisis shaping into a major...more

Graffiti of hands are seen on the wall of a destroyed shack in the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. The hillside slum of "Las Mayas" provides both great vistas of Caracas and an ideal view of a housing crisis shaping into a major battleground for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's re-election bid. Along one side of the once-forested slopes, shacks of corrugated iron, wood and mud cling precariously to land that erodes a little bit further whenever it rains, and at the bottom of the valley lies a possible solution: rows of neat red-brick apartments that are part of Chavez's vision of new "Socialist Cities", designed to end the South American nation's housing shortage while promoting communal living. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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<p>A boy plays with a cat while her father works on their shack at the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva </p>

A boy plays with a cat while her father works on their shack at the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

A boy plays with a cat while her father works on their shack at the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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<p>Alcide Arregocete, who has a prosthesis on her leg, up the stairs with the help of a crutch in Las Mayas slum in Caracas May 28, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva </p>

Alcide Arregocete, who has a prosthesis on her leg, up the stairs with the help of a crutch in Las Mayas slum in Caracas May 28, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

Alcide Arregocete, who has a prosthesis on her leg, up the stairs with the help of a crutch in Las Mayas slum in Caracas May 28, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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<p>Maria Colmenares pick up her clothes outside her shack in Las Mayas slum in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva </p>

Maria Colmenares pick up her clothes outside her shack in Las Mayas slum in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

Maria Colmenares pick up her clothes outside her shack in Las Mayas slum in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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<p>A woman feeds her child as she waits for transport in the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 28, 2011.  REUTERS/Jorge Silva </p>

A woman feeds her child as she waits for transport in the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 28, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

A woman feeds her child as she waits for transport in the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 28, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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<p>Neighbours and community board members walk together to evaluate high-risk areas in Las Mayas slum in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva </p>

Neighbours and community board members walk together to evaluate high-risk areas in Las Mayas slum in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

Neighbours and community board members walk together to evaluate high-risk areas in Las Mayas slum in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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<p>A girls runs outside a wooden shack at the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva </p>

A girls runs outside a wooden shack at the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

A girls runs outside a wooden shack at the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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<p>A boy collects flowers hanging on a fence at Las Mayas slum Caracas May 24, 2011.  REUTERS/Jorge Silva </p>

A boy collects flowers hanging on a fence at Las Mayas slum Caracas May 24, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

A boy collects flowers hanging on a fence at Las Mayas slum Caracas May 24, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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<p>Eder throws his nephew 'El Toro' in the air as they play at the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 28, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva </p>

Eder throws his nephew 'El Toro' in the air as they play at the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 28, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

Eder throws his nephew 'El Toro' in the air as they play at the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 28, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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<p>An old car and a destroyed police station are seen at the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva </p>

An old car and a destroyed police station are seen at the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

An old car and a destroyed police station are seen at the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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<p>A view of makeshift power cables in the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva </p>

A view of makeshift power cables in the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

A view of makeshift power cables in the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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<p>A woman watches TV in the bedroom of her shack in the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva </p>

A woman watches TV in the bedroom of her shack in the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

A woman watches TV in the bedroom of her shack in the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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<p>A girl walks out her house with a blender at Las Mayas slum in Caracas May 24, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva </p>

A girl walks out her house with a blender at Las Mayas slum in Caracas May 24, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

A girl walks out her house with a blender at Las Mayas slum in Caracas May 24, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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<p>Jerson sits on a fence outside his house at the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva </p>

Jerson sits on a fence outside his house at the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

Jerson sits on a fence outside his house at the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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<p>Neighbors of the slum of Las Mayas attend a meeting of the local community council to discuss housing issues in Caracas May 26, 2011.  REUTERS/Jorge Silva </p>

Neighbors of the slum of Las Mayas attend a meeting of the local community council to discuss housing issues in Caracas May 26, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

Neighbors of the slum of Las Mayas attend a meeting of the local community council to discuss housing issues in Caracas May 26, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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<p>A man works on his wooden shack at the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva </p>

A man works on his wooden shack at the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

A man works on his wooden shack at the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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<p>People walk over a mudslide area which wiped out the way to the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva </p>

People walk over a mudslide area which wiped out the way to the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

People walk over a mudslide area which wiped out the way to the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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<p>A new government-made housing project is seen in Las Mayas in Caracas May 24, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva </p>

A new government-made housing project is seen in Las Mayas in Caracas May 24, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

A new government-made housing project is seen in Las Mayas in Caracas May 24, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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<p>Maria Orizco waits for daughter at the door of her house in Las Mayas slum in Caracas May 26, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva </p>

Maria Orizco waits for daughter at the door of her house in Las Mayas slum in Caracas May 26, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

Maria Orizco waits for daughter at the door of her house in Las Mayas slum in Caracas May 26, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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<p>Marisol Aponte, checks her mobile phone prior to a local community council meeting at Las Mayas slum in Caracas May 26, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva </p>

Marisol Aponte, checks her mobile phone prior to a local community council meeting at Las Mayas slum in Caracas May 26, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

Marisol Aponte, checks her mobile phone prior to a local community council meeting at Las Mayas slum in Caracas May 26, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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<p>Maria Orizco waits for clients at her store in Las Mayas slum in Caracas May 28, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva </p>

Maria Orizco waits for clients at her store in Las Mayas slum in Caracas May 28, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

Maria Orizco waits for clients at her store in Las Mayas slum in Caracas May 28, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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<p>A woman is seen reflected in a mirror hanging outside a shack at the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 28, 2011.  REUTERS/Jorge Silva </p>

A woman is seen reflected in a mirror hanging outside a shack at the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 28, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

A woman is seen reflected in a mirror hanging outside a shack at the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 28, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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<p>A boy stands on an unfinished shack made of posters promoting tourism in the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 24, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva </p>

A boy stands on an unfinished shack made of posters promoting tourism in the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 24, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

A boy stands on an unfinished shack made of posters promoting tourism in the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 24, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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<p>A girl stand at her shack in the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva </p>

A girl stand at her shack in the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

A girl stand at her shack in the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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<p>Kelly Lopez (L) and Katuiska Flores get a overhead view from their house in the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011.  REUTERS/Jorge Silva </p>

Kelly Lopez (L) and Katuiska Flores get a overhead view from their house in the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

Kelly Lopez (L) and Katuiska Flores get a overhead view from their house in the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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<p>A boy holds onto a barbed wire as he stands outside his shack in the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011.  REUTERS/Jorge Silva </p>

A boy holds onto a barbed wire as he stands outside his shack in the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

A boy holds onto a barbed wire as he stands outside his shack in the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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<p>Night view of the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 26, 2011.  REUTERS/Jorge Silva </p>

Night view of the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 26, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

Night view of the slum of Las Mayas in Caracas May 26, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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