Sadly, some problems escape the capabilities of the organizational structures of Juventud Bolivariana, a tragedy struck the community a couple of years ago when during heavy rain, 5 houses were completely destroyed due to a landslide. Fortunately there were no deaths, but this goes to show the instability of these lands, which are mostly made up of landfills. Another big issue is land tenureship, after 20 years the inhabitants of Juventud Bolivariana do not own the land where their houses stand. Some have been able to obtain “títulos supletorios” which are a supplementary title, a document granted by a judge to justify the occupation of the land, granting the right to the surface to those who have selfbuilt on the land, but it can by no means replace the land property or go against a third party’s rights, for example the actual owner of the land.
Richard, a government supporter, expresses his gratitude to the government for their support, but when asked what is it exactly that the government did for them, he couldn't formulate a proper answer. He says the government organized them in “Consejos Comunales” an organizational structure with the same roles as the civil association. Mirla explains that consejos comunales destroyed community leader networks because those who didn’t support the government were displaced. This was the case of Juventud Bolivariana, the 3 leaders of the civil association didn’t agree to be included in the consejo comunal. Judith affirms that the civil association kept working despite the creation of the consejo comunal but with time, the consejo comunal took away the civil association’s functions, ultimately rendering it useless. The consejo comunal’s organizational structure only seeked to centralize power, to stop independent actions of communities. Starting in 2009, they were organized into committees such as a water, gas, and food security committee, and trained to present project proposals. Nevertheless, when asked if he still belongs to the consejo comunal, he says he quit because they never got funding for any project from the government, and curiously enough their training didn’t teach them how to get funding from any entity aside from the government.
“The problem is that the government creates functions and then doesn’t follow-up. [...] We get tired of proposing projects and then never seeing the results. I am losing energy and time, I was trained to do this but I don’t want to invest time in it if it’s never gonna get done. A lot of the people who were part of the consejo comunal are now disappointed, because there is never an adequate response from the government [...] We get organized, we propose projects and then a year goes by and then another, and we tire ourselves. But then when it’s a political thing, they say propose projects, you might get funding for your project, that happen when elections come...”
-.Neighbor of Juventud Bolivariana.
Judith says that nowadays the Consejo comunal’s only function is allocating a monthly heavily-subsidized basic food handouts and gas, that Richard affirms is given to everyone no matter their political views because everyone is in need. Judith explains that at the very beginning of Consejo comunales, benefits were only given to government supporters, but that has shifted in the last years due to the dire conditions of everyone. Richard acknowledges that everything has worsened for them, in fact he no longer lives in Juventud Bolivariana. He was allocated an apartment because he works for a government ministry. He speaks of the hardships his neighbors endure to be able to make it to their workplaces. The great distance that separates the settlement from the sources of employment in the city, has made public transport unreliable.
Judith speaks of water shortages as one of the biggest problems that now affects them, they receive only a couple hours of water over the weekend. The high prices of food and the suspension of garbage collection services makes them dependent on government handouts. Judith states that the Government has completely lost its support in the Juventud Bolivariana community, she says that only Richard supports the government and that’s because he continues to receive benefits from them like his new apartment and his second car, thanks to his work as a bodyguard, for an important government official that he cannot name.