Today the Bolivarian Revolution Celebrates 12 Years of Achievements
Today, February 2, the Venezuelan people celebrate the first 12 years of the Bolivarian Revolution, which broke the closed system of the so called Punto Fijo Pact in 1999, when Hugo Chávez was elected for president. The Punto Fijo Pact was an agreement signed in 1958 by the Venezuelan political parties Acción Democrática (AD), Copei, and Unión Republicana Democrática (URD) to guarantee an alternation of power for the three political organizations. Under this model, those political parties guaranteed their presence in power, effectively excluding leftist parties or other independent or popular movements from entering the political arena.
In 1999, after an overwhelming electoral victory, President Chávez took up his post and said, “I swear before God, I swear before the homeland, I swear before my people that under this moribund Constitution I will boost the needed democratic transformations so the new Republic can have a Great Charter suitable for the new times. I swear it.”
Those words surprised the traditional ruling political parties and marked the beginning of a new phase in the country’s political future. The first legal, political and social step in creating a new and egalitarian Venezuela was the creation of a constituent assembly that paved the way for a new Constitution, created and endorsed by the Venezuelan people in 1999.
Chávez received a country with 7.4 percent of fiscal deficit and one of the lowest oil prices of Venezuela’s history, $7.7 per barrel. It was the time of the anti-OPEC policies, of the so called Washington Consensus and the neoliberal policies.
Poverty levels were extremely high: about 55 percent of poverty and 40 percent of extreme poverty. Inflation reached over 100 percent during the 90s.
The Bolivarian Revolution was consolidated under this context, and today proudly shows a regional leadership of having 24 percent of poverty, 7 percent of extreme poverty and a 17.9 percent decrease in inequality. Additionally, during the Bolivarian Government, the country went up 10 spots on the UN’s Human Development Index. Beyond the social achievements, the Bolivarian Revolution has empowered the Venezuelan people as a main actor in the country’s process of transformations.
Some of the achievements of the revolution in Venezuela during the last 12 years are:
1. Substantial improvement in primary healthcare with the creation of Misión Barrio Adentro (Mission Barrio Adentro), a program that gives access to heath care services through Centers of Integral Diagnosis (CDIs), Integral rehabilitation Rooms (SRIs) and popular doctor’s offices in unprivileged communities.
2. Literacy programs that taught over 1,500,000 people to read and write, an achievement supported by the UNESCO, which declared the country illiteracy-free in 2005.
3. Reduction of critical poverty from 80 percent in 1998 to 30 percent in 2007.
4. Increase in the number of people with access to drinking water and electricity.
5. Attention to thousands of homeless children, adolescent and adults through Misión Negra Hipólita (Negra Hipólita Mission), a program aimed at rescuing this important part of the population from poverty.
6. Increase in the number of beneficiaries of social security and the their monthly economic benefit, amounting to $238, the highest minimum wage in Latin America.
7. Attention to hundreds of people who lost their homes due to the strong rains in late 2010.
8. Construction of the Children’s Cardiology Hospital, which performs over 4,000 surgeries annually.
9. Rescue of lands for agriculture.
10. Handing over of lands for farmers.
11. Liberation from debts owed to the International Monetary Fund.
12. Recovery of the oil industry, which was owned by foreign corporations.
13. Increase of oil reserves thanks to the recovery of the Orinoco Oil Belt.
14. Increase of international reserves.
15. Creation of Metro systems in the cities of Valencia (north), Los Teques (north), as well as modern transportation systems in Mérida (west) and Barquisimeto (west).
16. Recovering of the Venezuelan airline Conviasa.
17. Creation of CVG Telecom in 2004, a state-owned telecommunications provider.
18. Creation of the oil regional alliances Petrosur and Petrocaribe.
19. Creation of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of our Americas (ALBA), a regional alliance focused on Latin America and the Caribbean which emphasized on the fight against poverty and social exclusion.
20. Launching of the Simón Bolívar Satellite, which has allowed developing telemedicine, teleducation and achieving independence in information and other technological services.
21. Reduction of the public debt from 47.5 points in 2003 to 25 points in 2006.
22. Reduction of children mortality by 27 percent since 1998.
23. Creation of the Community Councils, spaces of popular participation in which the people formulate, implement, administer and evaluate public policies for the collective well-being of the community.
There are more achievements reached during the Bolivarian Government which were not included in this list, but we invite to keep informed through our web site.
YVKE Mundial/Press Office –Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S./ February 2, 2011