Four Gains Maduro’s Venezuela Made That Mainstream Media Ignores

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Above Photo: Joka Madruga/Flickr

4 Gains Maduro’s Venezuela Made That Mainstream Media Ignores

Four years ago today, a former bus driver with humble working class origins became the President of Venezuela.

Promising to continue the revolutionary legacy of deceased former president Hugo Chavez, Nicolas Maduro pledged to advance the living standards of Venezuela’s poor and oppressed.

But since taking office in 2013, Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution have faced non-stop attacks from Venezuela’s U.S.-backed right-wing opposition, making advancements difficult. Improving upon destabilization tactics used during Chavez’s administration, the opposition, it seems, has perfected the art of sabotage.

For years, the opposition has used violent protests, fake news, currency manipulation, food hoarding and calls for international intervention to undermine the Bolivarian Revolution.

Mainstream media, falsely portraying the opposition as a peace-loving democratic movement, has used textbook examples of psychological projection to create a false narrative about Venezuela.

Corporate news outlets like CNN and Fox News unilaterally hold the socialist government responsible for crimes committed by anti-government forces. Perhaps even more sinisterly, mainstream media intentionally leave out social accomplishments achieved by Maduro’s administration in an attempt to make him seem “unfit to rule.”

Despite right-wing sabotage, Maduro’s government has lived up to its promise to continue improving living conditions for Venezuela’s poor and oppressed. Here are four major gains made in Venezuela by Maduro’s government that mainstream media won’t tell you about.

Healthcare

Neonatologists watch over premature babies in a public maternity hospital near Caracas. | Photo: Reuters

Since his first day in office, Maduro has prioritized making improvements to Venezuela’s free public healthcare system.

Under his administration, Venezuela expanded its free health care coverage to more than 60 percent of the population, according to the country’s Ministry of People’s Power for Health. The Venezuelan president has also made free health care available to people in historically impoverished departments like Amazonas, Bolivar and Delta Amacuro.

And last March, Maduro’s government announced a decree that increased salaries for all doctors working in the public health sector by 50 percent. The salary increase served to incentivize medical professionals to provide the best quality of treatment for patients.

The results of his investments in public healthcare are undeniable.

Earlier this year, the United Nations Program for Development placed Venezuela among the countries with the highest Human Development Index, surpassing most Latin American countries. Since 2013, Venezuela has also decreased infant mortality rates, heart disease HIV/AIDS rates, according to the World Health Organization.

Housing 

Venezuela’s Great Housing Mission aims to construct 3 million new homes by 2019. | Photo: Venezuela Analysis

Public housing for all Venezuelans has also been a mantra of Maduro’s administration.

Last January, he announced that his government reached its goal of delivering 1,400,000 homes to Venezuelans across the country. The public housing program is either free or low of cost, depending on the family’s means. The project aimed to involve Venezuelans in the process as much as possible, with homeowners responsible for 60 percent of town planning.

A month prior, Maduro announced plans to internationalize Venezuela’s public housing program, creating homes for hurricane victims from Cuba and Haiti, the country’s Housing and Habitat Ministry reported.

Since January, the Housing and Habitat Ministry has constructed thousands more public housing units in remote regions across the country.

Venezuela currently has the second lowest rate of homelessness in Latin America, with only 6.68 percent of its population being unhoused, Habitat for Humanity reports. At 5.6 percent, Peru has the lowest rate of homelessness in the region.

Education

Children studying in a state school in Caracas. | Photo: Reuters

Maduro, who actively supported Venezuela’s student movement against neoliberalism during the 1980s, has made important strides in public education since coming to power.

The Venezuelan president has significantly grown the country’s Canaima program, a computer literacy and technology education campaign established by Chavez in 2009. Maduro’s administration has provided more than 4,800,000 computers and over 100 million technology textbooks to students across the country.

Despite the country’s economic difficulties over the last three years, more than 20,000 schools have received new computer equipment.

Maduro has also pumped millions into free transportation, music, art, sports and culture programs at schools across the country.

Maduro’s progressive education policies have made Venezuela rank sixth in the world in terms of enrollment in primary education and has increased its coverage of secondary education to 73 percent of the population. His policies have also made Venezuela a country with the highest literacy rates in Latin America, with 95.4 percent of the population knowing how to read and write, the U.N. reports.

Civil Rights

Venezuelan women participating in a protest in solidarity with President Nicolas Maduro. | Photo: Reuters

Maduro has also made tremendous advancements in improving the representation and civil rights of historically oppressed sectors of Venezuelan society, like women, Afro-Indigenous people and the LGBTQ community. Here are some examples.

Since 2013, Maduro has boosted funds for the Venezuelan Ministry for Women and Gender Equality, which provides resources such as child care, medical attention, job training and political education. And in 2014, he appointed Delcy Rodriguez, a politician and active member of Venezuela’s feminist movement, to head the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Along with elevating members of Venezuela’s Black and Indigenous-descendant communities to important political positions, he has also created institutions like the Centre of African Knowledge and the Ministry of Popular Power for Indigenous Peoples.

Moreover, Maduro’s administration has also improved rights for LGBTQ people. In 2016, Venezuela’s Supreme Court declared that the state will provide protection without distinction to all families, including to children born into same-sex families. In the same year, Venezuela’s Public Ministry announced that transgender people may request a new identity card according to their gender identity.

Although many improvements for women, Afro-Indigenous people and the LGBTQ community remain to be carried out, Maduro’s improvement of civil rights in the country is undeniable.

  • rgaura

    Oooh! The evils of socialism! A government that serves the people! How odious to predatory capitalists!

  • mwildfire

    But I have seen reports from credible sources saying Maduro’s administration has been corrupt and made bad choices. That their economy is in terrible shape and it isn’t all because of US sanctions and the low price of oil. Not to say what the US and its shameless allies are trying to impose would improve anything.

  • kevinzeese

    And Venezuela is not even socialist. It is a capitalist economy that has nationalized the oil industry (before Chavez came to power). The real problem is Venezuela has rejected US domination.

  • kevinzeese

    There economy is in terrible shape because it is an oil-based economy and has been since the 1920s when oil was discovered. Other industry and agricultre has had a difficulty due to the Dutch Disease which impacts every country with a natural resource that is valuable. Chavez-Maduro tried to diversify the economy but when oil prices dropped it became impossible. The massive oil price cut was a major factor. Then the sanctions which have cost Venezuela billions. Other countries have essentially stolen from them based on a claim of sanctions. UK banks refuse to return more than a billion in gold. US just sanctioned the VZ oil industry seizing another 7 billion. The third factor was internal undrmining of the economy by oligarchs who want to return to power. They were hiding essentials in warehouses and selling food and other goods in Colombia as well as undermining the currency. These three factors are the reasons the VZ economy has shrunk by 25%. Maduro is far from perfect and corruption exists (as it does in all economies) but I am not sure anyone could have overcome these big three problems of oil prices, economic war and internal undermining of the economy by the wealthy. Some argue the biggest mistake Maduro has made has been to remain a capitalist economy that gives big business too much power rather than moving to a truly socialist economy.

  • We live in a global condition of constant economic warfare. Those with the biggest guns(think nuclear arsenals) and deepest pockets(think wealthiest oligarchs) to fund their extortion rackets call the shots. The facade of democracy is used to camouflage this reality in most countries. The monetary market culture of the global economy is the foundation of this system of domination and control by the wealthy. It has been the same for many generations.

    This is a cultural game we play. Without the survival tickets we call money, we cannot play but are nonetheless held accountable by the rules of the game, property, ownership, competition and markets, especially if we hope to have access to resources necessary to live. The social pressures, threats to life and cultural conditioning that force everyone to play this game are immense. And it is a game. Except for humans, no other life on Earth plays this game, at least not willingly. That is why so much life is now going extinct.

    Some of the big players have decided to take what they want from Venezuela. Concern for how this decision might impact the people of Venezuela is minimal because most people’s perspectives are so blinded by the drive to survive that their focus is entirely on their own narrow self interest. Self interest is what monetary market economics embodies, life blind and willfully ignorant of the delicate causal relationships that connect all life.

    If we had not all been driven insane from a life value perspective by the monetary market culture conditioning, the commercialization of all aspects of our lives, we would witness what is unfolding around Venezuela and so many other places around the world and quarantine those behind every voice that speaks out for such violations of individuals sovereignty, no matter their ideological affiliations for they are immensely destructive to the life supporting systems of the Earth and therefore threaten the well being of all of us. Excessive accumulation of wealth is a reliable symptom of this deadly and contagious condition.

    The funny thing about cultural games, we can change the rules at anytime. It is as easy as changing our minds. For me personally, the monetary market economy game has not been much fun for a very long time. Let’s play something more sustainable for the long term health and well being of life upon this beautiful planet. We are very clever technological beings and quite capable of sharing quite complex ideas very quickly. A sustainable abundance of life sustaining resources has been gifted to us by the universe. Clever monkeys that we are, surely we can figure out how to share those resources in a sustainable fashion to the benefit of all life?