Friday, January 26, 2007

Now Venezuela's oil helps millions 

It is certainly true that prior to Chavez coming to power Venezuelan oil was being managed to help the wealthy elite and PDVSA executives more than anyone else. A big part of the Chavez's first 5 years in office were spent fighting to gain control over the State oil company and redirect its resources to Venezuela's poor. This effort by Chavez brought fierce resistance, a coup, and an a oil strike aimed at driving him from office.

Fortunately Chavez prevailed. And by prevailing not only was democracy preserved in Venezuela but Venezuela's oil revenue started bringing big dividends for ordinary Venezuelans.

Some time ago I saw a post put out by the Venezuelan government that summed things up quite well. Fortunately, I just ran across it on the internet and can post it here:

In the past Venezuela's oil benefited a few, now it benefits millions. Indeed. Poverty in Venezuela is down. Income for the poor is up. And much, much more.

The place where I found this also had some other interesting, if a little dated, slides showing how Venezuela's priorities have changed under Chavez:

The State oil company is spending much more on social programs than before. One could say, why should PDVSA be doing that? They should just turn the money over to the government and let it be in charge of all the spending. That indeed is a valid point.

But it is indicative of PDVSA's changed mission. Before it saw itself as something above Venezuela and was run principly to benefit its rich managers. Now it is run to maximize revenue to be used to help the Venezuela people. And that has brought about a sea change in Venezuela. For example, just look at this graphic on the HUGE social programs called Missions begun by Chavez:

Millions of Venezuelans now get reduced price food, literacy programs, high school equivalency classes, a first chance at college, homeless people are rehabilited, medical care is brought to poor areas, and on and on and on. It is amazing what can be done when you just have a government that gives a damn, isn't it?


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