Nine Acclon volunteers began training in Cambridge this week for a year and a half of improvement work in Venezuela's slums. The group has been drawing on the resources of Harvard and other area universities as preliminary orientation in Latin American customs and problems.
Accion, a private peace corps sponsored primarily by American industry, has had remarkable success during its first year of operations, according to both government and industrial officials.
Donald Patterson, a spokesman for the group of trainees in Cambridge, attributed a good deal of Acclon's success to its independence from government control or recognition. "We are able to function in areas the Peace Corps can't go into, because we are not an official American group," Patterson said.
Most Volunteers in Barrice
Most of Accion's volunteers are working in barrios, or slum areas of Venezuela. Patterson said Peace Corps workers in Venezuela have only tried to draw barrio inhabitants out of the slums to community centers. Our people live in the barrios, and are able to learn what the real problems are and gain the population's confidence.
Accion volunteers concentrate on ways to bring economic development as a first step towards political stability. In the first year of the program several schools, as well as a pipeline and various vocational training classes, were started. By learning what can be done, and by knowing where to go for resources-usually U.S. industry-Accion hopes to improve life in the barrios, and lesson the appeal of Communism.