Saturday, March 12, 2011

Venezuela and the Bolivarian Revolution

Some years ago before I left South Africa I told people that the future of the world could possibly lie in the Bolivarian Revolution that was taking place in Venezuela.

This was after reading a comprehensive booklet from Venezuela that contained the Bolivarian Constitution, which I was given by the American Embassy (Consulate?) in Durban as an example of the sort of thing that was threatening the West and America.  

It was whilst I was still with BCE (my Construction Insurance Company) ~ the Consulate was on the next floor to the Munich Reinsurance company and I chatted to a lady who worked at the Consulate in the lift.  It was one of those synchronicity things that happen occasionally. It seemed that every time I visited Munich Re - several times a week in those days - she was either going down or coming up.  She was a charming black woman from Augusta and we went for coffee a couple of times.  

Anyway, after reading it I was intrigued, for everything it contained made sense. Taking one example - Prison Towns.  This is in fact in the Old Testament, only called Cities of Refuge - see . 
"Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses: that the slayer that killeth any person unawares and unwittingly may flee thither: and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood."

Our Group in Rhodesia actually drafted a Constitution based on the Bible teachings of the Pentateuch that we sent to the Government ~ I was at that time on National Executive of the ruling party ~ and this was included in it.  I would love to be able to say that our Constitution was similar to the Bolivarian but cannot.  I think, however, that it was pretty good. Of course, I am prejudiced towards it.  

The concept of Cities of Refuge (Prison Towns) was ridiculed as unpractical.  Our argument was that people would be able to provide a service to the community rather than be incarcerated at the expense of that same community: so I was thrilled to see this and other precepts within the BC.  Since then, whenever I have supported the BC   I have been ridiculed and told that Venezuela is a dictatorship etc. etc. 

So now is the time to see what Venezuela has accomplished:   

Take a look below, sent to me from www.VenezuelaAnalysis.Com  

Ah…That Chávez!

12 years since the start of the Bolivarian Revolution, let’s draw a few little doves that help grasp the worrisome statist orientation of this Revolution. A pertinent clarification: the following data is not from Wikileaks.
Economics and Finances 
  1. Liberation of the country from the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
  2. Increase in the international reserves
  3. Reduction of the public debt from 47.5 to 25 points (2003-2006)
  4. Elimination of the tax on bank debiting
  5. Creation of the large banks: of the Treasury, of Development, and of the South
  6. Petroleum
  7. Recuperation of the oil industry
  8. Recuperation of OPEC as an organization that defends the price of oil
  9. Liberation of state-owned Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) from the securities commission of the United States, paying the corresponding debt (26 billion dollars)
  10. Increase in the oil reserves with the recuperation of the Orinoco Oil Belt
  11. Agriculture and Production
  12. Rescue of lands for agriculture and their handing over to the peasantry
  13. Diversification of production: creation of factories for the production of tractors, bicycles, and automobiles as well as cement in association with Iran
  14. Health
  15. Creation of a new National Health Service (Inside the Barrio Mission)
  16. Equipping of hospitals with incubators and other sophisticated equipment
  17. Construction of Children’s Cardiology Center
  18. Thousands of people with their vision recuperated (Miracle Mission)
  19. Reduction in the infant mortality rate by 27 percent
  20. Increase in the life expectancy rate to 73.18 years of age
  21. Construction of the first Popular Indigenous Clinic in the state of Apure and an extensive network of outpatient clinics for the indigenous
  22. Women
  23. Creation of National Institute of Women (Inamujer)
  24. Creation of the Simoncito program (attention for children from before birth)
  25. Extension of the period for maternal lactation which forces employers to give more weeks to working mothers
  26. Support for 200,000 mothers with economic difficulties (Mothers of the Barrio Mission)
  27. Education
  28. Bolivarian University in all states (over 800 graduates as upper-lever technicians) as well as the University of Sports, in Cojedes
  29. Opening up of bachelors degrees for thousands of people, with more than 200,000 graduates to date (Ribas Mission)
  30.  Literacy achieved by over 1.5 million people, for which UNESCO declared the country free of illiteracy
  31.  Recuperation of over 100,000 education campuses
  32. Creation of 58,236 new schools
  33. Creation of 255 technical-training schools where 203,000 students study: the goal is to reach 500 of these schools for 500,000 students
  34. Publication of over 50 million books distributed free of charge so as to increase the people’s cultural level
  35. Equipping of the country’s public libraries
  36. Creation of over 6,000 bolivarian schools and 75,000 classroom libraries
  37. Payment of all debts to teachers and substantial increases in salaries
  38. Elimination of tuition fees for state-operated schoolhouses
  39. Poverty, Work, and Housing
  40. Reduction of critical poverty from 80 to 30 percent (1998-2007)
  41. Attending to hundreds of people, including children, living on the streets (Negra Hipólita Mission)
  42. Network of Feeding Houses for those in need
  43. Declaration of workplace immobility, to impede firings
  44. Program for the substitution of shacks for houses
  45. With benefits, the minimum wage of a Venezuelan worker amounts to 638 dollars per month (8,000 Mexican pesos)
  46. Services
  47. Increase in the number of people that today have drinkable water and electricity
  48. Creation of the PDVSA Social Districts to assist hundreds of communities throughout the country
  49. National plan for gasification (natural gas piped directly to communities/homes)
  50. Communication
  51. Creation of Telesur and the Bolivarian News Agency (ABN)
  52. Approval of the law for social responsibility in radio and television
  53. Placing in orbit of the Simón Bolívar satellite, for the development of tele-medicine, tele-education, and for information independence
  54. Environment
  55. Increase to 6,700 birds in the population of Caribbean flamingos, species considered to be in danger of extinction
  56. Planting of 20 million trees since 2006 (Tree Mission)
  57. Security
  58. Increase in the number of people affiliated to Social Security, as well as in pensions for the elderly
  59. Payment of all debts to professors, doctors and retirees
  60. Retirement for catholic school teachers at ‘Faith and Happiness’ who for 50 years had not received retirement or bonuses
  61. Construction of penitentiary cities intended to resolve of prison problem
  62. Armed forces
  63. Independence of the Armed Forces from the influence of the School of the Americas (SOA)
  64. Exit of Yankee technicians that conducted espionage in the barracks as well as diversification in the markets from which arms are purchased
  65. Integration
  66. Entry into Mercosur
  67. Creation of the Bolivarian Alternative for the People’s of Our America (ALBA) as an alternative to the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA)
  68. Politics
  69. Increase in the self-esteem of the Venezuelan people
  70. Establishment of the country’s sovereignty
  71. Glorification of the history of popular and national struggles
  72. Effective democracy
José Steinsleger is a writer and journalist. He is a founding member of the Latin-American Federation of Journalists (FELAP, 1976), of the Latin-American Agency of Special Information Services (ALASEI-UNESCO, 1984) and the movement, “In defense of humanity” (Mexico, 2003). Since 1996 he maintains a regular column in the Mexican daily La Jornada. He is also author and co-author of several books on the Latin American historical political reality. 

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