Today, Central Park’s hallways and passages are spattered with garbage, leaking water, used condoms and the remains of dead animals. The once lush gardens are barren grounds punctuated with mosquito-riddled puddles. The underground parking has been abandoned to the rising groundwaters.
Central Park’s decline has affected the MACC, which relied on the complex’s central air conditioning and maintenance budget to protect its collection from humidity.
Yet, art experts believe the greatest blow to the museum came not from the economic downturn but the Socialist Party’s policies.
After winning the presidency in 1998, Mr. Chávez, a former paratrooper born into a poor provincial family, sought a radical break from the discredited traditional parties, who had alternated power since the 1950s.
Mirroring the slogans of his mentor, Fidel Castro, the Cuban leader, Mr. Chávez proclaimed a “cultural revolution,” seeking to elevate Venezuela’s traditional music, dance and painting styles at the expense of what he called the elitist culture of his predecessors.