Mérida, August 1st 2011 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Government organised “community vacation plans” began today in Venezuela, providing free culture, sports, education, cooperative games, and historic and touristic excursions to children over the next seven weeks of school holidays.
The government has estimated that up to one million children nationwide will participate in the plan, which it is running for the third year in a row, and which is also supported by the communal councils and communes.
During a meeting with a group of children today, President Hugo Chavez explained that the community vacation plan was possible “thanks to the public bank surplus”.
“It is money that was robbed by the [opposition] before and now we have it here,” he said.
He joked with the children about his shaved head, explained the chemotherapy process to them, and encouraged them to “continue studying and preparing yourselves to enjoy the socialist country that is being built”.
Chavez quoted Cuban revolutionary Jose Marti, “Everything we do, every day, is for the children, is for life.”
On Friday, 14,500 youth from around the country swore themselves-in as “recreationers”, to help and run the vacation plans.
Various ministers and authorities, including minister of sports Hector Rodriguez, and the ministers for education, tourism, and communes attended the swearing in ceremony in Caracas.
Rodriguez, speaking at the ceremony, said that 10 or 15 years ago there were no such “spaces created for… children’s social and intellectual development … now the Bolivarian revolution has changed the life style of our youth.”
Addressing the youth at the ceremony he added, “There are no precedents in the country for something like this, the responsibility you are taking on is very important… from today we are rescuing …recreation as an experience of transformation, motivation, [and] learning.”
Isis Ochoa, minister for communes, explained that the “recreationers”, aged 17 to 25, received “pedagogical training” that included such themes as environment and recreation strategies, planning and methodology, culture and identity, sports and integral health, sexual education, and the rights of children and teenagers.
She also explained that the plan includes guided community visits, and walks in national parks.
“There will be ecological, cooperative, and traditional [folk] games, and…trips to the Roques Archipelago and Canaima Park”. The locations are two of Venezuela’s most renowned tourist locations.
With high pregnancy rates, 29.5% of Venezuelans (7.6 million) are under the age of 14.