Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez provided information this week on his country’s social and economic achievements, especially the nation’s reduction of poverty, citing statistics from the Economic Commission for Latin America andthe Caribbean (ECLAC).
“In ten years, we have been able to reduce poverty in half”, proclaimed the Venezuelan President. “The Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC) pointed out that from 1990 to 2010 poverty in some countries of Latin America and the Caribbean increased.
Nevertheless, poverty dropped on average overall between 25 and 30 percent. The Venezuelan case has to be deeply analyzed because the South American nation reduced poverty by more than 50 percent through 2009”, explained President Chavez.
“Poverty in Venezuela was above 60% when I won office in 1998”, recalled Chavez. The ECLAC report, entitled Social Panorama of Latin American and the Caribbean, states on page 13 that in 2002 poverty in Venezuela reached 48.6 percent, while in 2008 it dropped to 27.6 percent, which represents a 43 percent decrease.
Extreme poverty was reduced from 25% to 7% during the past decade, a dramatic change. The reduction in poverty is a result of a number of strategies implemented by the Venezuelan government to fight against social exclusion by boosting social programs known as “missions”, promoting the organization of community councils and nationalizing companies that pave the way for employment opportunities.
“It’s not time to die, it’s time to live and to keep fighting, because Venezuela reduced poverty by 50%, affirms Eclac we are on the path to the dignification of the liberation of our people”, emphasized Chavez in light of the major social advances the country has made.
The most effective social programs in Venezuela have been in the areas of education, healthcare, job training and food subsidies that have aided the reduction in poverty. Medical attention is free and universal throughout Venezuela, with hundreds of new and advanced clinics built by the state during the past decade. Quality education is guaranteed at all levels, free even during university and post-graduate studies.
Thousands of new schools have been built by the Chavez administration along with hundreds of new accessible universities. Job and skills training programs have enabled thousands of Venezuelans not just to enter the work force but also to build their own cooperatives and small businesses, many receiving low-interest loans from the government. Subsidized supermarkets, known as Mercal, PDVAL and the Bicentennial Markets, have ensured access to affordable foods for all.
The Venezuelan government invests 60% of its annual budget in social programs to guarantee the well being and prosperity of its people. According to ECLAC, the
investment is paying off.