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Chavez trades office for tent to aid flood victims

by Staff Writers
Caracas (AFP) Dec 10, 2010
President Hugo Chavez said Friday he plans to turn over his office to flood victims and move into a Bedouin tent given to him by Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi.

"In the formal, number one office we can install some beds. It's big... I'll just move to the khaima (Bedouin tent) that Kadhafi gave me. Set it up in the garden," Chavez said on national television during a tour of a stricken Caracas neighborhood.

He said he would use the tent much the same way Kadhafi uses his when he goes on foreign visits. "I'll greet presidents. Here comes President (Rafael) Correa (of Ecuador)... well, I'll receive him in the tent," said Chavez.

Devastating floods and mudslides across Venezuela have killed at least 38 people and left thousands homeless in recent weeks.

Last week, Chavez opened the doors of the presidential Miraflores Palace to 25 homeless families, who on Friday will be moved to the headquarters of the presidential guard.

On Sunday, Chavez also announced the government would take over private property and rezone a national park to provide housing for flood victims.

Chavez on Friday urged members of his cabinet and the commanders of the armed forces to follow his altruistic example.

"If you see a house in bad shape... you've got to move those people you know where? To your headquarters, to your office, where you've got air conditioning and a bathroom. Two families can be housed there," he said during a visit to a flood damaged home.

"Nicolas's Yellow House is pretty big," said Chavez referring to the building where Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro has his offices. "A lot of people can live in there."

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