Only 2.1% of Venezuela's working population earns more than $232/month
By Aleksander Boyd
Daniel has got some commentary on this.
By Mark Weisbrot
CARACAS - "Viva Chavez," shouted Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, as the team celebrated its World Series sweep last week. Guillen is Venezuelan, and a national hero in this country of 25 million people who seem to believe that they too, along with Chicagoans, have won the World Series.
His cheer for the country's leftist President Hugo Chavez might have caused some reaction just a year or two ago. But these days it went largely unnoticed, despite the continuing hostility between the Chavez government and the Bush administration. Relations between the two governments have been sour since the Bush administration supported a military coup against Chavez in April 2002, as well as a failed attempt to recall him last year.
But Chavez' popularity is now among the highest of any president in Latin America, with a 77 percent approval rating, according to the latest polling. Not higher than that of Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe...
After growing nearly 18 percent last year, the Venezuelan economy has expanded 9.3 percent for the first half of this year - the fastest economic growth in the hemisphere. Although the government's detractors like to say this is just a result of high oil prices, it is not so simple. Oh no it's never simple to spin reality
As a result, the government is currently running a budget surplus, despite billions of dollars of increased social spending that now provides subsidized food to 40 percent of the population, health care for millions of poor people, and greatly increased education spending. The official poverty rate has fallen to 38.5 percent from its most recent peak of 54 percent after the opposition oil strike. But this measures only cash income; if the food subsidies and health care were taken into account, it would be well under 30 percent. Indeed measuring non-tangible indicators is a good way to improve the lot of the poor...
Of courses Venezuela still faces many of the challenges common to the region: the judicial system is weak, crime rates are high, and the rule of law is not well established. But the present government, which has had less than three years of political stability - attempts to overthrow the government through violence and large-scale economic sabotage did not cease until the oil strike collapsed in February 2003 -- has set the economy on a solid growth path. And it has kept its promise to share the nation's oil wealth with the poor.
In short, the vast majority of Venezuelans got what they voted for, Now this is a quote for the history books: for no Venezuelan, lest of course Chavez and few other talebans, voted in 1998 for a Castroite neocommunist system that sponsors terrorism and revolutions all around the region, pilfering the country's -not his own- wealth on issues that do not bring tangible benefits to Venezuela.
© by Vcrisis.com & the author