A year ago, when our team in the mayor's office came together, the first step we took to modernize the office was to collect statistical information about conditions in the municipality and analyze the data. Security was also high on our agenda: we planned to increase police salaries, improve police equipment and reactivate our police academy, which had been closed by the previous municipal government.

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                                THE      MUNICIPAL

                               REFORMERS                                                                                   Sucre’s municipal
                                                                                                                           technocrats: Natasha
                                                                                                                           Quintana (left),
                                                                                                                           Federico Ortega
                                                                                                                           (center) and Adriana
                SUCRE,                                                                                                     Vincentini (right) in
                                                                                                                           the barrio of Petare,
             VENEZUELA                                                                                                     December 2009.

                                                      afternoon last     ezuelan professionals like us to      the mayor’s office came together,
                                 N A SUNNY            November, we       work in Petare, the second larg-      the first step we took to mod-
                                 went up into Barrio Unión de            est barrio in Latin America? The      ernize the office was to collect
                                 Petare, in the municipality of          answer explains a lot about our       statistical information about con-
                                 Sucre in Caracas, to inaugurate         country and our generation.           ditions in the municipality and
                                 a community clinic and to cel-              Petare is home to nearly          analyze the data. From this we
                                 ebrate Carlos Ocariz´s first year        1 million people. It is a place       established that our priority was
                                 as mayor of Sucre. Walking con-         where some 50 homicides take          to improve social services, and to
                                 fidently through the narrow             place each month and where            do that we urgently needed more
                                 streets to the sound of drums           a 15-year-old girl is more likely     resources. Security was also high
                                 and trumpets pounding out a             to be pregnant than in school.        on our agenda: we planned to in-
                                 samba was a stark contrast to           It is a mountain covered with         crease police salaries, improve
                                 how we felt only a year before.         cinder blocks and zinc sheet          police equipment and reactivate
                                 We reminisced about our ner-            roofs. Petareños have virtually       our police academy, which had
                                 vousness as we waited for the           no opportunities to achieve their     been closed by the previous mu-
                                 election results and the eupho-         dreams of prosperity. Petare is       nicipal government.
                                 ria we felt after Carlos’ victory. It   the heart of Caracas; it is the          The results have been encour-
                                 was, after all, the third time Oca-     icon of Venezuelan barrios. And       aging. T
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