Puebla, Mexico, July 14, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro unveiled Tuesday a new initiative to provide aid to women during pregnancy.
The National Humane Birth Plan will provide free midwife services and other assistance to women during pregnancy.
“This plan is one of the most wonderful that we have created,” Maduro said during a ceremony at the presidential palace.
“We must take care of the youth of the future,” he added.
During the ceremony, Maduro approved BsF 12 billion (US$1.2 million) in funding for the program. That's equal to US$1.2 million at the black market rate, or just under US$45 million at the official SIMADI rate.
Maduro said 10,000 socialist activists have also been organised to participate in the program.
The announcement was welcomed by the minister for women, Blanca Eekhout, who said the program is a step forward for Venezuela’s socialist project.
“Birth should have a privileged place, but has come to be conceived as a business,” she said.
She also indicated that a national hotline has been established to connect women with the program.
“With a phone call, all the pregnant women in the country, over [the age of] 18, who want to participate in this extraordinary plan of humanising childbirth, solidarity, life, peace for our children, our girls and our women – can do it,” she said.
Venezuela’s government has long vowed to prioritise women’s rights. Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez was the country’s first head of state to openly declare himself a “convinced socialist-feminist”, and argued women’s rights should be a central platform of his socialist revolution. In 2013, Venezuelan labour reforms enacted the world’s third longest maternity leave. Mothers are now entitled to six weeks pre-natal leave, along with twenty weeks post-natal. Fathers are also entitled to two weeks paternal leave.