Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Even the opposition can't hide the good news 

In Venezuela the only news is bad news. The reason for that is that virtually all private media, with a couple notable exceptions, see there job not as informing the public but as doing everything they can to bring down the Chavez government. For that reason there is a very clear rule in the Venezuelan media; any news reflecting well on the Chavez administration should be hidden, any news reflecting poorly on the government should be emphasized. A clear example is that today's news of the economy growing 29.8% is either not reported at all or buried deep in the interior pages of the papers.

However, even the opposition media can't hide all the positive developments in Venezuela. So today there appeared the report in Ultimas Noticias that the opposition polling firm, Datanalisis, says that unemployment has fallen sharply. Now you may ask, why does a polling firm keep unemployment statistics? The answer is that although the government does keep official unemployment statistics the opposition does not like that they often show the economy doing well. So the opposition, through Datanalisis, keeps its own set of "statistics" which of course paint everything in a worse light.

The Datanalisis report released today said that the unemployment rate had fallen from 20.7% in November 2003 to 17.2% in April. This, according to Datanalisis's director Luis Vincente Leon, means that the economy has added 370,000 jobs over that period. These numbers, while probably not completely reporting the true situation, indicate that the performance of the Venezuelan economy is so strong even opposition organizations like Datanalisis cannot ignore it.

It bears mentioning that the official unemployment rate in Venezuela has dropped to below 14% from a high of over 20% after the opposition led strike at the beginning of last year.


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