Caracas fights for facelift to woo tourists, residents

Caracas does not figure large on the map for the thousands of tourists who flock to South America every year lured by the promise of ancient civilizations, mysterious jungles and pulsating rhythms.

Even for residents of the Venezuelan capital, Caracas – once a popular home-from-home for waves of immigrants drawn by its quality of life – is today synonymous with insecurity and traffic nightmares.

Now a slew of new initiatives is aiming to give the city a more human face: more parks and green spaces, wider pavements, the renovation of the historic city center, more police patrols and more open-air cultural events.

"I think people are prepared to fight more now for their open spaces than they did before," said Cheo Carvajal, author of the "Caracas By Foot" column in a Venezuelan daily and a leading advocate for the rights of pedestrians and cyclists.

Source: The Independent