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Recent articles by Mark Weisbrot
Recent Articles about Venezuela / Colombia The Left
Continuity Likely Even Without Chávez
venezuela / colombia | the left | non-anarchist press Tuesday January 08, 2013 18:47 by Mark Weisbrot - New York Times
Since Hugo Chávez first took office, he and his party have won 13 of 14 national elections, mainly because they greatly improved the living standards of the majority of voters in Venezuela. Since 2004, after the economy recovered from the devastating opposition oil strike, poverty has been cut by half and extreme poverty by more than 70 percent.
And this measures only cash income: millions of people also got access to health care for the first time, and access to education also increased sharply, with college enrollment doubling and free tuition for many. Eligibility for public pensions tripled; and in the past two years the government has built hundreds of thousands of houses. Most of the poverty reduction came from increased employment, not “government handouts,” and during most of Chávez’s tenure the private sector has grown faster than the public sector. These numbers are not really in dispute among economists or international statistical agencies. If you follow Venezuela and haven’t heard any of this, it’s because the news media is giving you the equivalent of a “tea party” view of the country.