Friday, March 19, 2010

The Count


...Is the percent of lost GDP in Chile due to last month's earthquake. Today Chile's new Interior Minister gave the reconstruction effort a hefty $30 billion price tag, 3.6 to 4 billion of which will go to repairing the 14 hospitals across the country that were destroyed by the earthquake. The government also announced a revised tally of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami's casualties, which has reached 452 dead and 97 missing.

Yes indeed, much remains to be done and the debates over how to fund the reconstruction effort as well as holding construction companies accountable for damaged properties is in full force. The gov. is currently considering a proposal to pay for the reconstruction effort by raising royalty fees on mining companies. That's right, Piñera is contemplating going against his campaign promises in the interest of... common sense! And, of course, raising royalties on extractive industries pretty much makes him Evo Morales' BFF even more, no?

On a more serious note, Mr. Lorenzo "tower of pisa" Constans, the president of the Chilean Chamber of Construction (CCC), has issued a (sorta) mea culpa on behalf of Chile's construction companies for maybe kinda sorta possibly violating building codes:
"I'm not ruling out that at some stage, during the geological survey or during calculations or even the construction phase, there could've probably been an error."
Meanwhile, the CCC has signed an agreement with the metropolitan authorities of Santiago to provide the city with technicians to evaluate the damaged buildings and assess possible building code violations. In other words, under this agreement the same construction companies facing lawsuits will provide the city with experts in order to evaluate their own shitty collapsed buildings. What's more, as the excellent CIPER has dug up, the Mayor of Santiago, Fernando Echeverría, owns one of the construction companies in question, Echeverría Izquierdo, which built at least 3 of the damaged buildings. BEST. CONFLICT OF INTEREST. EVER.

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