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Venezuela's Social Investment is the Largest in South America

The Venezuelan government’s social investment, amounting to 623.508 million dollars since 1999, is greater than that of all other South American countries, as 64% of government revenue "as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP ) is greater than the other countries of the region" and assigned to education, health, sports, social safety and nutrition.

The statement was made today by the Vice President of the Ministerial Council for the Social Area, Héctor Rodríguez , during his speech at the South American Seminar on Social Inclusion, being held through Friday morning at the Teresa Carreño theatre in Caracas.

The seminar opened today with the participation of representatives from the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR ) and will address issues related to social inclusion in Latin America, including social protection systems and determinants of these policies on South America and public policies on social inclusion, among others.

Rodriguez, also the Education Minister, said that in recent years Venezuela has seen a significant reduction in poverty and reached a 90% enrollment rate in primary education, very close to the current rate in so-called developed countries.

He stressed that thanks to the national government in the country they have been able to increase health services, especially for the mother and child, and increased water access for over 90 % of the population.

However, there is still a need for regional prerequisites to be assumed so that "our people have real guarantees for the enjoyment of social rights: the free education and health systems, especially for the most needy."

He recalled that one of the major initiatives of Commander Hugo Chavez was the missions, created in 2003 to address the social emergency created by centuries of exclusion .

"Missions are social programs for mass and rapid satisfaction of needs related to the exercise and enjoyment of social rights. Missions are maintained in healthcare, education, food , work, housing, culture and sports," he declared .

Social programs have "become everyday way for our people to enjoy their social rights, giving priority to those most in need. Missions are the way in which Chavez redistribute oil revenues to humble people."

In 2001, he said, poor households accounted for more than 33% and those living in extreme poverty were more 11 %, and 10 years later, in 2011 (the year of the last Census), poverty was reduced to 24.57% and extreme poverty declined to 6.97%.

By the end of 2013 extreme poverty was at 5.5%  and the commitment of President Nicolas Maduro is to reduce it to zero by 2019.

He also noted that Venezuela has increased the amount of social investment, with respect to national income, from 36.7 % in 1998 to reach 64% in 2013.

"Social investment accumulated during the Bolivarian government from 1999 to the present is almost eight times the cumulative investment in the latest neoliberal era that our country lived through," he said.

Thus, he said the Bolivarian social policy, and the Missions and the strategy for their implementation, has allowed Venezuela to manage to meet most of its national and international commitments such as the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations (UN ).

Finally, he noted, figures such as the Human Development Index which in Latin America is at 0.741, compared to 0.694 of the world order.

In addition, the rate of satisfaction with quality of life is at 6.5 and the world average, on a scale from 1 to 10 within the UN, is only 5.3.

AVN / Press-Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S. / March 27, 2014

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