After Hugo Chavez and Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela, PSUV, began ruling in 1999, there were many positive changes in Venezuela. The U.S. and the wealthy oligarchies of Latin America simply could not permit a socialist success story to take root in Venezuela. Economic warfare and efforts to undermine the Chavez government were initiated immediately by Washington.
The following examples of Chavista accomplishments provide insight into why the uber-wealthy elites of both the U.S. and Venezuela are so anxious to discredit Chavista “socialism” and to regain control of Venezuela in order to re-immerse it in the bondage of its former traditional quasi-feudal socioeconomic model.
-From 1999 to 2011, the poverty rate decreased from 42.8% to 26.5% and the rate of extreme poverty fell from 16.6% in 1999 to 7% in 2011.
-From 1999 to 2005 almost 1.5 million poor people were taught by free government programs to read and write. I 2005 the country was declared to be “an “illiteracy free zone”.
-The number of children attending school increased from 6 million in 1998 to 13 million in 2011 and the enrollment rate is now 93.2%.
-Missions Ribas and Sucre allowed tens of thousands of young adults to undertake university studies. Thus, the number of tertiary students increased from 895,000 in 2000 to 2.3 million in 2011, assisted by the creation of new universities.
-With regard to health, they created the National Public System to ensure free access to health care for all Venezuelans. Between 2005 and 2012, 7873 new medical centers were created in Venezuela.
-The number of doctors increased from 20 per 100,000 population in 1999 to 80 per 100,000 in 2010, or an increase of 400%.
-Under President Chavez social expenditures increased by 60.6%.
-Before 1999, only 387,000 elderly people received a pension. Now the figure is 2.1 million.
-Since 1999, the government provided / returned more than one million hectares of land to Aboriginal people.
-Land reform enabled tens of thousands of farmers to own their land. In total, Venezuela distributed more than 3 million hectares.
-Five million children now receive free meals through the School Feeding Programme. The figure was 250,000 in 1999.
-The malnutrition rate fell from 21% in 1998 to less than 3% in 2012.
According to the FAO, Venezuela (prior to the full force of U.S. sanctions) under PSUVwas the most advanced country in Latin America and the Caribbean in the eradication of hunger.
-The nationalization of the oil company PDVSA in 2003 allowed Venezuela to regain its energy sovereignty.
-The nationalization of the electrical and telecommunications sectors (CANTV and Electricidad de Caracas) allowed the end of private monopolies and guaranteed universal access to these services.
-The unemployment rate fell from 15.2% in 1998 to 6.4% in 2012, with the creation of more than 4 million jobs.
-The minimum wage increased from $16/month in 1998 to $ 330/month in 2012, i.e., an increase of over 2,000%. This is the highest minimum wage in Latin America.
-Adults at a certain age who have never worked still get an income equivalent to 60% of the minimum wage.
-Women without income and disabled people receive a pension equivalent to 80% of the minimum wage.
-Public debt fell from 45% of GDP in 1998 to 20% in 2011. Venezuela withdrew from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, after early repayment of all its debts.
-In 2012, the growth rate was 5.5% in Venezuela, one of the highest in the world.
-For the first time in its history, Venezuela has its own satellites (Bolivar and Miranda) and is now sovereign in the field of space technology. The entire country has internet and telecommunications coverage.
-The creation of Petrocaribe in 2005 allows 18 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, or 90 million people, secure energy supply, by oil subsidies of between 40% to 60%.
-Venezuela also provides assistance to disadvantaged communities in the United States by providing fuel at subsidized rates.
-Hugo Chavez was at the heart of the creation in 2011 of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) which brings together for the first time the 33 nations of the region, emancipated from the tutelage of the United States and Canada.