By Yelitza Ventura Polanco
Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the Philippines
Venezuela continues to be attacked by the international press, ignoring the strengths of the process of change experienced by Venezuelans, the recent article published in the Business World, “The 15 Miserable Economies in the World”, written by economist Milton Friedmanz is a proof.
The Economist mentions Venezuela as the most miserable country in the world to live and work. However, there was no mention of the actual statistics of Venezuela that lead to that conclusion.
Therefore, it becomes imperative to deny this information matrix and media siege that has been creating an international public opinion out of order.
It’s time to make known “Venezuela in Figures”, statistics demonstrating the strength of the revolutionary social economic model, which has allowed withstand the onslaught of economic warfare as the country faces today.
In that sense, this article will highlight the official data from the Information System for Planning and Development of Venezuela, showing results of socialist policies of the Venezuelan government in the corresponding period from 1999-2014:
In labor, Venezuela has created 4,626,867 jobs and unemployment has fallen, the formal sector of the economy, expanded in 4,154,462 employment, which represented an increase of 15 percentage points.
As for living conditions, the poorest 10% increased rate of assistance to early childhood education, from 38.8% in 1998 to 65.6% for 2014; the poorest 10% increased their rate of school attendance in primary education, from 93.6% in 1998 to 97.3% in 2014. Likewise, the average years of schooling of people 25 years and over in the poorest households, increased from 5.2 years schooling in 1998 to 7.3 years of schooling by 2014 and finally, the poorest 10% increased its occupancy rate rising from 68.5% in 1998-74, 6% in 2014.
In terms of food, 95.4% of Venezuelans eat 3 or more times a day; more than 4 million children eat two meals and a snack in the Bolivarian schools; 900,000 people receive food in 6000 feeding houses; according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) in Venezuela 4,717,372 people have stopped hunger.
In social policy, the percentage of households in extreme poverty structure was 10.8% in 1998, achieved decrease of 5.4% in 2014. Venezuela passed during the Bolivarian Government the medium human development to high human development (0.76). The life expectancy at birth increased from 72 years in 1998 to 75 years in 2014. Income distribution improved from 0.486 in 1998 to 0.382, reducing levels of inequality and still the lowest in Latin America.
In educational matters: Increased enrollment in Early Childhood Education 43% (737,967 people) to 77% (1,605,391 people). Increased enrollment in Primary Education of 86% (3,261,343) to 93% (3,473,886). Increased enrollment in Secondary Education 48% (400 794) to 76% (1,620,583). Coverage in Higher Education, increased from 862,862 students (2000), 2,629,312 students (2013). The scholars between 3 and 16 years, passed in 1997/1998 84.4% to 91.3% for 2013/2014.
In Health: Coverage of the national public health system reaches 82%. The rate of prevalence of undernourishment is currently below 5%. For the period 1998/2000 it stood at 21.0%. Malnutrition in children under 5 years was 5.3% and for 2013 at 3.4%, implying that Venezuela is the fourth country with the lowest infant malnutrition. Access to drinking water rose from 80% in 1998 to 95% in 2014, fulfilling the goal of the Millennium Development Goals in coverage of this service. The percentage of households in critical overcrowding increased from 14.6% in 1998 to 9.1% in 2014. Access to Sewage from 62% in 1998 to 84% in 2014. The percentage of inadequate housing (ranches) in 1998 was 6.6% in 2014 down to 4.2%.
On Social Security: In 1998 the number of pensioners were barely 387,007, increasing to 2,565,725 pensioners in 2014.
These data reflect important achievements of the national policy initially implemented by President Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias and continued by the current President Nicolas Maduro.
The advances that have been made possible by a policy focused on human beings, especially Venezuelans who have been traditionally excluded, have benefited from the Missions and Great social missions, now have access to health services, utilities, food, and education.
In international affairs, Venezuela has made significant progress in the consolidation of an authentic and sovereign Foreign Policy, compassionate, humanistic and proponent of the union of Latin American and Caribbean people, examples are CELAC, ALBA, UNASUR, Petrocaribe and Petrosur.
The continuous challenge and its orientation is to turn Venezuela into a benchmark country in the world, leader in the construction of a multipolar world – without empires – , in the fight for equality and self-determination of the people.
In this regard, we are inviting the economist Milton Friedmanz to familiarize himself with the Venezuelan statistics and later make objective judgments because Venezuela is respected and will not allow this vicious smear campaign against Venezuela to continue.