Successes of the Chavista Governments in Venezuela

Note: These figures are true even after the latest economic crash brought on by crashing oil prices and massive economic sabotage by the private sector.

  • Unemployment has dropped from 14.5% of the total labor force in 1999 to 7.6% in 2009
  • GDP per capital has risen from $4,105 to $10,801.
  • Poverty has decreased – in 1999, 23.4% of the population were recorded as being in extreme poverty, this fell to 8.5%.
  • Venezuela has one of the top proven oil reserves in the world and in 2011 OPEC put the country’s net oil export revenues at $60 billion. In 1999 it stood at $14.4 billion.
  • Before Chavez, most of the population had no access to medical care. None, zero, sip, zilch, nada. Now everyone does.
  • Massive numbers of the poor, millions of people have been lifted out of poverty into the middle classes, especially the lower classes. This has been a double edged sword as some of the poor, once lifted from poverty to the middle classes, started voting rightwing. This was one of the largest and fastest movements of masses of population from poverty to the middle class in recent history.
  • Everyone has access to education. Before, education was only for the rich. Education is now free through the graduate level at state universities.
  • Massive increases in electricity usage. It is true that there are problems with the electrical grid, but this is misleading. The electrical grid worked well when 90% of the population was in poverty. But with the incredible reduction of poverty under Chavez, electricity use exploded. So many more people were wired up to the grid who had had no electricity before. Most of the slums were wired up with electricity. In addition rising incomes enabled many of the former poor to afford TV’s, computers, microwaves,  and many other things that use electricity. Unfortunately this also was a double edged sword as the explosion in electricity use taxed a grid that had been set up for a tiny elite of rich people only. Hence there have been many blackouts and brownouts due to the massive income increases in the country!
  • The government done more to upgrade the oil industry than any previous government. Unfortunately a lot of work needs to be done.
  • State supermarkets buy goods at wholesale and sell to them to the poor for very low prices. Hence, many poor people have access to many foods that they could never afford before. The massively increased access to more foods has been truly amazing.
  • The state set up “My Happy Home” stores that purchased household items at wholesale and sold them at very cheap prices to low income people. Hence many low income who could never afford these household items were able to purchase these modern household items, often electrical items. This resulted in the upgrading of millions of poor homes with modern household items.
  • Poverty was massively reduced. When Chavez came in, it was 90%. It was later reduced to 25%. This is one of the largest and fastest poverty reductions seen in recent history. The poverty reduction was done via mass income transfer from the rich and upper middle classes to the poor and lower income groups. If you want to know why the Venezuelan Right is so hysterical about the Chavistas, that’s it in a nutshell.
  • Huge decrease in income inequality. Venezuela is how the 2nd or 3rd most equal country in Latin America, behind only Cuba. When Chavez came in, Venezuela was one of the most unequal countries on Earth.
  • Reduction in malnutrition. When Chavez came in, 90% of the population could afford only one meal per day. When he left office, nearly everyone had enough food to eat the caloric intake was excellent at 2,500-3,000 calories per day.
  • A very comprehensive labor law resulted in vastly increased protections for Venezuelan workers.
  • The largest and best increase in housing in the history of Venezuela. A huge amount of money was spent constructing new housing projects, mostly to house low income people. The idea was to dismantle the vast slums in the cities and replace them with housing projects. There was a large reduction in the size of Venezuelan slums.


Filed under Americas, Economics, Education, Government, Health, Labor, Latin America, Latin American Right, Left, Nutrition, Political Science, Regional, Social Problems, Socialism, Sociology, South America, Urban Studies, Venezuela

4 responses to “Successes of the Chavista Governments in Venezuela

  1. Jason Y

    Higher education can’t be afforeded by lower classes anywhere. There just isn’t any fucking way. Some right wingers claim people should get a job to earn the money, but we’re talking about 50,000 to 100,000 for a degree, and that true in any nation.

    Also, as I was saying in other threads, a big problem with the upper class is snobbiness. They’re so bent on helping no one, that they put up huge walls to make sure nobody becomes like them.

  2. I RTed this post because it provides a valuable contra-narrative perspective.

    That said as a chavista myself it can’t really be denied that things have gone south since Chavez died, in substantial part thanks to what Jason Y outlined but also of course due to the collapse in oil prices and the government’s luckluster response to it.

    Devaluation was delayed for far too long with the result that foreign exchange reserves have collapsed to dangerously low levels bringing with it one of the world’s highest risks of sovereign default.

    180% inflation, >10% budget deficit, debt at 50% of GDP and rising (60% is usually critical danger level for emerging markets), plummeting foreign currency reserves which now suffice only to cover 4 months of imports (3 months is considered critical)… it looks really bad.

  3. Jason Y

    I don’t know why those who are successful always become snobs. It seems to be the case, even in my own family.

    Well one reason might be is because once you got money, then everybody wants some of it. In order to get away from this unpleasant situation, the middle class and rich islolate themselves among thier own kind.

    I know if the successful members of my family were totally generous, then the drug addict side of my family would take everything they have. Well,. they’re already doing that to my mom.

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