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Venezuela Celebrates Advances for People with Disabilities

Merida, December 4th 2012 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – “One Disability, a Thousand Potentials” was the motto yesterday as Venezuela marked the International Day of People with Disabilities, holding a range of cultural and awareness raising activities.

The International Day of People with Disabilities was declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 1992. Venezuela will be holding different activities for it until 8 December and the Central University of Venezuela is conducting a series of workshops and conferences over the next three days.

Further, in the next few days organisations of people with disabilities will present a proposal to the National Assembly to create a ministry for disability.

In a ceremony in Caracas yesterday, members of the Front for Disability Juan 23 said they were no longer “orphans” as they were under previous governments.  They emphasised that the law for people with disabilities, passed in 2007, has made them more visible.

The front groups together around 300 members who carry out awareness raising workshops in communities and provide a link between people with disabilities and the state institutions, as well as the disability service Mission Jose Gregorio Hernandez.

The front is also putting together a proposal for public transport bus stops that are adequate for people with disabilities.

According to Marigel Moya, from the Jose Gregorio Mission, in Sucre state alone the mission has assisted 2,360 people this year. She said that a prosthetics laboratory will be inaugurated in Sucre later this month.

“Venezuela is a world leader in terms of the organisation of people with disabilities... more than 10,000 [disabled people] have received political training and training in how to plan projects, and are also part of their communities and participating in social auditing,” said Edgar Araujo, president of the National Council of People with Disabilities (Conapdis), yesterday.

Araujo explained that Conapdis aims to eliminate structural barriers to inclusion, commenting that, “We have advanced a lot in this respect, but we have a lot more to do. We still have the capitalism that we inherited and that didn’t take people with functional diversity into account when building physical spaces”. 

He said that so far inspectors and lawyers from Conapdis have visited 1,636 public and private institutions to provide them with evaluations so that they can make their infrastructure more accessible.

In May this year people with disabilities formed a council of disabled people as one of many councils organised in the Great Patriotic Pole. This council has also been proposing a new government ministry for people with disabilities.

According to Tirza Martinez, a member of the council, there are over 2 million people with disabilities in Venezuela.

The disability law states that at least 5% of workers hired by both private and public companies must be people with disabilities. Further, once a person has certified their disability, they are entitled to free local transport, and half price long distance transport, among other benefits.

Published on Dec 5th 2012 at 12.45am