The Bolivarian Government’s social programs for 2012 are expected to contribute to lowering extreme poverty by half to reach 3.5 percent, said the President of the National Institute of Statistics (INE), Elías Eljuri, during an interview broadcast on state television in Venezuela.
According to Eljuri, this affirms that the government has made it a priority to assist the neediest population and those previously excluded as a consequence of the neoliberal policies implemented in previous decades.
New data from the INE shows that extreme poverty was at 7 percent in 2011, a drop despite the fact that the Venezuelan economy shrank by 3.5 percent in 2009 as a consequence of the capitalist economic crisis.
Eljuri said the economy remained stable on the whole, which evidenced “that social policy developed by the government prioritizing the problems of the human being. Social investment reached $468 billion, doubling to 60.7 percent during 2011, which allowed stable employment and poverty rates despite the economic crisis.”
Additionally, the INE president noted that the new social mission “Sons of Venezuela” will provide cash benefits of $100 per month to over 1.3 million children and adolescents under 15 years of age. Pregnant women and children with disabilities will receive $140 per month.
The Venezuelan government’s inclusive policies will also benefit almost 400,000 elderly citizens living in extreme poverty – including women over 55 and men over 60 – through the social mission known as “Higher Love.”
“It will undoubtedly contribute to increased household incomes,” said Eljuri.
These benefits will also boost savings and contribute to satisfying household basic needs, he noted, and will be complemented by other initiatives like the food program Mission Mercal; the School Food Program (PAE) which benefits over 400,000 children and adolescents; the over 6,000 community kitchens that serve about 900,000 people including the homeless; and free healthcare programs, which have increased by 155 percent.
“It’s a whole policy aimed at increasing household incomes among the poorest population. We believe that extreme poverty will undoubtedly be reduced.”
Goals of Mission Knowledge and Work
The president of the INE said that the Mission Knowledge and Work is expected to reduce unemployment, which is currently at 8 percent, by the second semester of 2012.
Regarding labor inclusion, from 1999 to 2011 over half a million people were incorporated into the productive economy, Eljuri highlighted.
YVKE Mundial / Press Office – Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S. / January 19, 2012