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I was looking for information about the architectural works that were built in my country, Venezuela, in the 1950s onwards because I remembered something that they told me when I was working many years ago in a city in the plains region.
While I was on those regions working for 18 months in the general hospital of Calabozo, on several occasions I heard the elderly talk about the labor used on constructions during the time that dictators governed the country, about how the unskilled labor that was used were people who were deprived of freedom, day by day these people were taken with shackles on their feet to carry out the works that the dictators had approved with their engineers.
One of the works that I got to know they worked on is the Guárico State Dam. Its name is the Guárico Reservoir or Generoso Campilongo Dam in honor of the Italian engineer who engineered it, the largest dam in the country and one of the largest in all of Latin America, more specifically located in the town of Calabozo. It’s said that it’s the largest reservoir built in Venezuela and was built during the government of General Marcos Pérez Jiménez in 1957. This was the date of its inauguration and since then it has served as a water reservoir with a capacity of very close to 1900 cubic hectometers.
It’s built at the level of the national highway that connects the states of Guárico and Apure, which are areas of livestock and agriculture.
The Calabozo area is suitable for planting rice, being one of the areas with the highest production of the precious grain and land suitable for its own mineral wealth on its land. It’s also important for the crops of various vegetables onions, potatoes, etc. The crops used the water that flowed from the reservoir. In times of scarcity of rain, the reservoir also lowered its water level and in times of rain the level rose so much that the gates had to be opened to spill the water with the danger of the gates breaking due to overflowing.
Then the entire population lived with the thought and they transmitted to outsiders that they believed that the floodgates would break if the torrential rains continued. But now, after more than 30 years, I never heard of that event ever happening, but for an inexperienced young woman to hear those comments during my time in that town… it wasn’t pleasant to hear it repeatedly.
This reservoir was very close to three years in construction. On the dam and to one side, the bridge that crosses it to communicate with the national highway was built. This bridge named Coronel Pedro Aldáo was built in 1952 and has a length of about 150 meters.
It’s a very simple bridge without many steel and concrete artifacts, but it was very appreciated by those of us who sometimes drive through those beautiful flat lands.
After searching a lot and reading even more, nowhere did I get any information on what brought me to this writing post, which was to verify what other authors told me so many times about labor in dictatorial times.
I have the memory of the old people who lived those times and their stories. Right there in that town, they told me about how they could see those deprived of liberty in those times of dictatorship in the country and how they were used to create the construction of the most famous dam in Venezuela and its bridge.
I just have to keep investigating and maybe one day find more written information about it.