Chavez and Poverty
For those that support the social policies of the Government of Hugo Chavez, the recent report by the economic commission for Latin America (CEPAL) should serve as an alert. The document makes it clear that that the policies pursued by him have not contributed to the reduction of poverty and inequalities.
Elaborated on the basis of data from 2004-the fifth year of Chavez’ Government-the study shows that the Chavista administartion was responsible for a marked step backwards: of a list of 17 countries in the region, Venezuela came in the next to last place, ahead only of Argentina, with respect to combating extreme poverty. From 2000 to 2004, the report points to a drop of 64% in the index that measures the reduction of poverty. The National Institute for Statistics, the official entity of the Venezuelan Government, recognizes that poverty grew from 42.8% in the first half of 1999 to 53% at the end of 2004.
It happens to be a terrible performance when you take into account that the country is undergoing one of the best economic circumstances of its history. The fifth oil exporter in the world, Venezuela grew last year by 17.4%.
In the face of matters of this nature, there is nothing like placing the sadly famous Bolivarian revolution on check. The urgency for the distribution of income was always the most visible flag of the Government-and it was in the name of it that the Venezuelan President ran over such precepts as the independence and equilibrium of powers.
In six years in power, Chávez appears to have been more efficient in the creation of factoids for a parcel of the left, than in obtaining results. When social indicators do not respond to the favorable economic context and the large intervention by the State, one is forced to recognize that the excesses of the Chavista regime, beyond being indefensible, are not very efficient in their objectives.