Great article by LEE SUSTAR
VENEZUELA’S “BOLIVARIAN Revolution” ... “socialism for the twenty-first century.” Revenues from the state oil company, PDVSA, have funded vast increases in social spending.
- reduction of poverty from 55 percent of the population to 34 percent
- share of gross domestic product (GDP) on social spending has increased from 7.83 percent to 14.69 percent;
- the achievement of literacy for 1.5 million adults;
- the virtual elimination of hunger through subsidized grocery stores that service 13 million people;
- medical care provided by Cuban doctors via free clinics in slums, reaching 18 million people, nearly 70 percent of the population;
- access to higher education for the poor and working class;
- and special affirmative action programs for indigenous people.
- The minimum wage is now the highest in Latin America at $286 per month,
- and the workweek is to be shortened from forty to thirty-six hours by 2010.
- Land reform has shifted 8.8 million acres to impoverished families, more than half of that from private owners.
- Government seed money has increased the number of cooperative enterprises from fewer than 800 to 181,000 to try and provide more stable employment for the approximately half of Venezuelan workers who toil in the informal sector of the economy.
- All this is being achieved despite the implacable hostility of Venezuelan capital and of U.S. imperialism,
- Chávez looms ever larger on the world stage, having turned Venezuela from one of the most compliant states in Washington’s “backyard” into the cutting edge of the revolt against neoliberalism and a laboratory for socialism in the twenty-first century—
- all with oil money earned from exports to the United States.
- Oil prices are high, of course, owing to the Iraq War,