Desire For Exception

Didier Fassin

in Humanitarian Reason

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780520271166
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520950481 | DOI:
Desire For Exception

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This chapter discusses the aftermath of Tragedia in Venezuela in 1999, when the National Constituent Assembly declared a state of emergency and gave full power to President Hugo Chávez to deal with the humanitarian situation. The disaster affected all social categories indiscriminately which brought the entire country together and led to the mobilization of 13,200 members of the three armed forces and police. Their aim was to transfer the homeless to shelters, to respond to urgent needs, to collect and distribute humanitarian aid, to administer medical care and recover bodies, to clean the water pipes and sewers, and to clear the streets. Security and humanitarianism went hand in hand, although the security forces themselves were also accused of excesses, abuses, looting and destruction. Thus even the initial wave of solidarity quickly gave way to looting by survivors, misappropriation of donations, abuses by the military, settling of accounts and complacent indifference of the privileged classes toward the victims.

Keywords: Tragedia; Venezuela; Hugo Chávez; humanitarianism; state of emergency; humanitarian aid

Chapter.  8539 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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