China bank approves US$50M for Suriname houses

(de Ware Tijd) PARAMARIBO – The first 1,000 government houses that the Bouterse Administration plans to build with a Chinese loan have been “safeguarded.” “It’s just a matter of the Finance and the Foreign Affairs Ministers placing their signatures, and that’s a formality,” Minister Ramon Abrahams of Public Works (OW) disclosed yesterday during an interview with de Ware Tijd.

The Export/Import Bank of China (Eximbank) approved a US$ 50 million loan on April 9 to finance construction of the houses. “You may remember that we had signed an agreement with Dalian for the construction of 5,000 houses some months ago. Yet due to the sum and the credit ceiling (set by law), we have decided to build the houses in a phased manner, with 1,000 being built every year.” Abrahams also divulged that the first 500 houses will be built in Commewijne.

The plan is that as soon as construction of the first 1,000 houses has started, a new project will be submitted to the Eximbank for 2013 and the following years.

Since taking office, President Desi Bouterse has mentioned the building of 18,000 houses during his term as one of his policy priorities, yet only 100 houses have been built after 18 months. Bouterse’s political opponents often use this as an example of what they call his tendency to make big promises he cannot keep.

During a meeting of his party last year, Bouterse said that every effort would be made to build the houses in order to alleviate the housing shortage in Suriname.


UN concerned at T&T’s return of Venezuelans

The United Nations System in Trinidad and Tobago yesterday expressed concern after authorities in  Twin-Island Republic announced they had facilitated the return to Venezuela of scores of Venezuelan citizens, including asylum seekers, who had been in detention.

Venezuela’s Maduro visits new Cuban leader

HAVANA, (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro became on Saturday the first foreign leader to meet with Cuba’s Miguel Diaz-Canel since he became president of the communist-run island this week, underscoring the importance of the Venezuelan-Cuban alliance.

Colombia border teems as Venezuelans “without anything” flee crisis

CUCUTA, Colombia  (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Outside a church in the Colombian border city of Cucuta, Martha Carbajalino flips nervously through a pile of papers in her hands, standing with dozens of other migrant Venezuelan parents hoping to enroll their undocumented children into school.

Rush to house record number of Venezuelan refugees as rainy season looms in Brazil’s north

RIO DE JANEIRO,  (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Brazilian authorities and aid groups are rushing to help tens of thousands of Venezuelan refugees before the start of the rainy season in northern Roraima state this month, even as government leaders clash over a request to close the border.

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