Category: Social Policy

The Social Policy of the Bolivarian Revolution: Mission Tricks

English + Español
When presidential candidate Hugo Chávez won the elections in December 1998, a wave of optimism and hope swept through Venezuela, especially among its poor majority. Chávez’s triumph represented a fundamental change in the political life of one of the oldest democracies in Latin America. Chávez promised change and solutions for the country’s pressing problems, especially those related to poverty and inequality, …

Euro Cup and Revolution

We’ve heard it all before. A white privileged minority exploits a non-white population until a charismatic leftist leader from the oppressed majority—thriving on class and racial tensions—leads a revolution to force the elite to pay for its sins. Given Venezuela’s oil wealth, the country’s high inequality is one more expression of the elite’s selfishness. This Robin Hood story, ubiquitous in much of the international press and forcefully …

Between Militarization and Compassion: Disaster Victims’ Assistance Policies After the Tragedy

English + Español
The front page of the Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional on December 6, 2000, showed the picture of a woman standing in front of an open, empty refrigerator, her back turned to the readers. The caption explained that the refrigerator belonged to displaced victims or “damnificados” of the December 1999 natural catastrophe known as “the Tragedy.” Massive floods and landslides had wracked the Venezuelan coast and the …

Social Policy in Chávez’s Venezuela: A Radical Alternative or More of the Same?

The barrio Carretera Negra on the western edge of Caracas consists of a row of houses along a stretch of highway road, as indicated by its name, “Black Highway,” and along three smaller lanes, Oriente, 24 de Julio and Justicia. It is a Wednesday morning in the Carretera, and police officer Osvaldo Mendoza is unloading foodstuffs from the back of a government truck for the local soup kitchen, located in the front room of his house. …

Poverty Reduction in Venezuela: A Reality-Based View

Venezuela has seen a remarkable reduction in poverty since the first quarter of 2003. In the ensuing four years, from 2003 to 2007, the poverty rate was cut in half, from 54 percent of households to 27.5 percent. (See Table 1). This is measured from the first half of 2003 to the first half of 2007. As can be seen in the table, the poverty rate rose very slightly by one percentage point in the second half of 2007, most likely due to rising …

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