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VENEZUELA: ACHIEVEMENTS OF 10 YEARS OF REVOLUTION

During 10 years of revolution, the Bolivarian Government has been breaking free from paradigms, beating obstacles, exceeding all expectations, facing empires, revolutionizing consciousness, beating foreign and internal propaganda, and even more, defending, as the engine and fuel of the revolutionary project, the deep conviction that the human being is the center and principle of the society.

The most representative achievements can be evaluated quantitatively through the Missions, infrastructure works and technological advancements, among others, but the qualitative analysis leads us to three big conclusions: with the arrival of the Bolivarian Revolution, the quality of life has been boosted for most Venezuelans, social inequalities have been reduced significantly and Venezuela has made important steps in the struggle to reach the real conditions of a developed country.

ACHIEVEMENTS

1. REDUCTION OF POVERTY

During the administration of the Bolivarian Government led by President Hugo Chávez, the extreme poverty rate significantly fell from 42% in 1998 to 9.5%. This result allowed Venezuela to achieve in advance this UN Millennium Goal. General poverty was also significantly reduced, from 50.5% in 1998 to 33.4% in 2008.

Venezuela's Human Development Index also increased from a 0.69 (medium development) in 1998 to 0.84 (high development) in 2008. Currently, Venezuela ranks 67 out of 179 countries according to the 2008 UNDP report.

Venezuela's Gini coefficient fell to 0.4099, the lowest in the country's history and in Latin America. In 1998 it was 0.4865.

2. ACCESS TO EDUCATION

In 2005, Venezuela achieved the goal set by UNESCO to declare a country an illiteracy-free territory; 96% of adults and elders know how to read and write. But we are still working and 99.6% of the population over the age of 15 is now literate.

Currently, the Venezuelan state spends 7% of the GDP on education, compared to 3.9% of Venezuela's GDP in 1998. Without including the socialist missions (social programs), school enrolment was 6.2 million students in 1998; now it is 7.5 million students both in public and private schools.

The socialist missions, created as an initiative of President Chávez to look after the population excluded from the formal educative system, show the following statistics:

a. Mission Robinson II: 437,171 students, including 81,000 indigenous students, have graduated.

b. Mission Ribas: 510,585 students have graduated.

c. Mission Sucre: 571,917 Venezuelans are in the higher education system in 24 programs (career), in 334 different municipalities. 30,000 students have graduated from seven programs: education, environmental management, social management of local development, journalism, management, computer science, and agro-food production.

3. ACCESS TO HEALTH

Venezuela invests 4.2% of its GDP in health and it continues deepening strategies to guarantee Venezuelans free access to health with the creation of the social programs Barrio Adentro I-II-III and IV. Up to 2009, Barrio Adentro has made the following achievements:

a. 24,884,567 Venezuelans, that is to say 88.9% of the population, benefit from this mission.

b. 630,491 Venezuelan lives have been saved thanks to this mission.

c. Barrio Adentro has inaugurated: 6,531 popular health centers, 479 Integral Diagnosis Centers, 543 Integral Rehabilitation Centers, 26 High Technology Centers, 13 popular clinics, 459 popular opticians and 3019 locations offering medical and dental care.

The public health policies developed by the Bolivarian Government have managed to reduce the children mortality rate (children under 5 years) to 13.7%. In 1990 this figure was 25.8%.

4. SOCIAL SECURITY

Unemployment has been reduced by 50% during President Chávez’s administration, falling from 12% to 6.1% by early 2009.

In May 2007, the Venezuelan minimum wage became the highest in Latin America (US$372). In addition, workers receive a monthly bonus for food amounting to over US$139. Also, pensions have been increased to the minimum wage.

5. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

The Venezuelan economy has experienced 20 consecutive quarters of growth. The year 2004 stands out with an historical growth of 18.3%. The 2008 rate of growth was 4.9%. Our economy has grown by 526.98% compared to the Venezuelan economy in 1998.

Venezuela has the fourth largest economy in Latin America after Brazil, Mexico and Argentina.

6. FOOD SOVEREIGNTY

In order to guarantee the country's food security and sovereignty, the Bolivarian Government created Mission Food, whose aim is to offer basic foodstuffs to the Venezuelan population at low prices and without intermediaries. This initiative materialized with the creation of a network of storing centers and stores (Mercal, PDVAL, ASA, FUNDAPROAL, and silos, among others).

In 1998, Venezuela produced 16,272,000 tons of vegetables. By 2008, Venezuela managed to produce 20,174,000 tons of food. This represents a 24% increase.

7. PUBLIC DEBT

The public debt dropped from 73.5% of the GDP in 1998 to 14.4% in 2008, placing the national deficit as one of the lowest in the World.

In 1998, a debt of $3 billion was paid off to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and to the World Bank (WB).

8. INTERNATIONAL RESERVES

By early 1999, the International Reserves amounted to US$14.3 billion. In January 2009, they amount to US$41.9 billion.

9. TECHNOLOGY SOVEREIGNTY

Before the Bolivarian government, there was practically no investment in science and technology. Today, 2.69% of Venezuela's GDP is aimed at science and technology.

With the creation of the Infocentros (centres of information) and the National Technological Literacy Plan, the access of the population to information and communication technologies was boosted.

On October 29, 2008, Venezuela launched the Simón Bolívar Satellite from the Sichuan's Satellite Center in the People's Republic of China. It is operative and the Venezuelan state has taken control. Satellite services will be offered to thousands of communities all around Venezuela, and beyond our borders in other Latin American and Caribbean countries, with tele-education and telemedicine programs.

The consolidation of Venezuela's technological sovereignty also includes the nationalization of the main, strategic, telephone company, Venezuela's National Company of Telephones (CANTV, Spanish acronym).

10. ELIMINATION OF GENDER INEQUALITY

Gender equality adds to the achievements of the Venezuelan society. Women’s participation in Communal Centers is 60%; 4 out of the 5 Public Powers are headed by women. The women's presence in the National Assembly (Venezuelan parliament) increased from 10% to 16.5%.

[Ministry of People's Power for Communication and Information. January 30, 2009.]

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