Caracas, July 20th 2010 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez revealed figures on Sunday that he said show the great strides the Bolivarian Revolution is making in improving and protecting the health and well-being of children and older people.
Chavez said that in the last 10 years the government has given out a million pensions to retired workers worth in total Bs. 67.8 billion, around Bs. 678 million per year.
According to the president, this is a sharp increase in performance compared alongside the governments of the previous 22 years, a time period before the country’s more progressive Constitution was created in 1999, known as the Fourth Republic.
He said: “In the last 22 years of the Fourth Republic only Bs. 582 million were invested, something less than Bs. 30 million per year. Notice the difference. The Bolivarian government, in only one year paid more than the Fourth Republic managed in its last four terms of government [22 years].”
Chavez blamed capitalism and the former state of the Fourth Republic for prioritizing the rich over the poor in its politics.
“The bourgeois state is an irresponsible and selfish state towards the people. In contrast, it gives the bourgeoisie everything. What the previous governments did was to close the doors to the people, deny them social security, a fair salary, pensions and in that way lower costs so as to give more money to the bourgeoisie. Now, with socialism, we are making things more equal. We give fewer resources to those that have enough and we give more to the people, according to their needs,” he said.
He also pointed to the lowering of levels of infant mortality for the under-fives and to those under a year of age.
According to Chavez, the average number of deaths of children less than a year old was 23.07 per 1,000, where as it has now lowered to 16.64 per 1,000 after 10 years of revolution.
“If we take into account that each year in Venezuela half a million children are born, it means that in these 10 years, 5 million have been born… that means that if the infant mortality index hadn’t reduced, 1.3 million kids probably wouldn’t be alive today,” he said.
He also showed that there had been a real lowering of children living on the streets, from 9,000 in 1998 to only 900 in 2007.
He said: “This must continue reducing until we reach zero.” If the old government had remained in power, “be sure, as has happened in many countries in the world, there wouldn’t be 5,000, there would be up to 20,000 abandoned children in the streets, because that is how savage capitalism is.”
Also, in the last two years, the social programme “Children of the Neighbourhood” has reintroduced 965 children who had become separated from their parents back into the family home.
Some 635 have also been adopted and 332 are in the process of being put into homes.
Chavez said that children who find themselves without a family and homeless are the responsibility of everyone not just the government. He called on communal councils to take action to help children in need in their communities.
“This is very important. It is a fundamental value of socialism – social, collective, communal responsibility,” he said.
The Children of the Neighbourhood programme was initiated in June 2008 to come to the aid of street children and those with social problems such as drug abuse and alcoholism.
The communal councils were put in place in 2006 as participatory institutions in local communities in order that citizens themselves could manage the social programmes operating where they lived.
The Chavez government says it hopes that these participatory democratic forms will over time grow in power, influence and importance, eventually replacing the capitalist state itself.
Prevention of Social Security Privatisation
Chavez was at an event yesterday to give out Venezuela Institute of Social Security (IVSS) pension books to a group of citizens where he revealed that one of the first things his government did when it came into government in 1998 was to stop the plans of the previous governments to privatise the IVSS.
He said there were also plans to privatise the petrochemical industry, the steel industry, and the oil industry.
“They were going to privatise all that at very low prices. And that is not even mentioning that they had already privatized the airline Viasa and the Venezuelan National Telephone Company (Cantv),” he said.
He ended by saying that mass privatizations would again become a reality if the current opposition came to power.