What... starve them to
Dr. Alexa G. Weber
Bolivarian Government of Venezuela, when it took over the reins of power,
already knew that it had an incredible challenge in front of it and began
developing programs before the so-called Millennium Summit, celebrated in
September of 2000, where leaders from all over the world promised to reduce
poverty in half by the year 2015.
contribution from the United Nations Development Program (UNPD), the principal
source of information, consultation and promotion for subsidies of this
development goal, and the Project of Encouragement Sur-Sur (South-South), the
Summit proposed placing the human being at the center of the development process
to achieve its goal. UNPD uses formulas to calculate the Human Development Index
(HDI) referencing values such as: life expectancy; illiteracy; percentage of
primary, middle and university level education; infant mortality; respect for
the rights of women; and income per capita.
indexes were developed, the Human Poverty Index for developing nations (HPI-1)
which considers the following:
Vulnerability to death at a relatively young age, measured by the possibility
at birth of not living to the age of 40.
illiteracy rate of adults.
Standard of living:
Lack of normal economic supplies decided by the percentage of the population
that does not utilize potable water supplies.
children under the age of 5 with below average weight.
HPI-2, a second poverty index that measures the same hardships as HPI-1 but also
reflects the social exclusion measured by the rate of joblessness over
the long range (12 months or longer).
Venezuela – due to the great increase of poverty indexes inherited from previous
governments characterized by corruption, inefficiency and negligence – the new
government has concentrated on bettering the quality of life of that immense
majority of the excluded.
follows are examples of the improvements experienced in Venezuela since the
Bolivarian government entered into power:
infant mortality rate has decreased progressively from 24.2 in 1996 to 17.4 in
Pregnant women attended to, grew from 81,000 in 1999 to 378,000 for the year
Native children attended to in Daily Care Homes and Multi-homes went from
6,000 in 2000 to 16,000 in June of 2003. (Daily Care Homes are a type of
social service offered, similar to a day care concept, to working women.)
AIDS program increased expenditures from 2.6 billion bolivares (the Venezuelan
currency) in 1999, to 45 billion bolivares in 2002.
Public education expenditures were increased from 3.2 percent of the GNP to
woman’s organization, INAMUJER, has increased its rolls from 4,000 women
organized in 1999 to 37,000 in June 2003.
investment in vaccines went from 3 million bolivares in 1998 to 28 million in
this manner is illustrated how the Bolivarian government began its massive
attention to its problems by addressing them with a huge investment in health
result, the rich and powerful minority opposition in Venezuela has seen its
privileges and the possibility for corruption diminish without much care for the
situation of a large majority of the poor. Realizing that that majority does not
support them with their vote, they therefore began an absurd and cruel strategy
that attempted to interrupt the implementation of the health programs eagerly
awaited and needed by the “excluded.”
failed in their coup that aimed to rid Venezuela of all its democratic
principles, the opposition, wrongly called the Democratic Coordinator, embarked
in an attempt at causing economic chaos by calling for a general strike that was
not supported by large sectors of the public, transportation and health
entities. They then decided to call a strike at the country’s petroleum
corporation, which represents its major source of income. Conspiring with the
privately owned mass media, the opposition induced some petroleum workers with a
tubular mentality that made them foreign to the tremendous poverty that
surrounded them, and sent them to the abyss of a collective suicide, since the
strike was declared illegal by the Supreme Court of Justice for not dealing with
the workers demands.
the opposition’s true intention was carried out through economic constriction
(more than $10 million was lost) in order to negate the government of the
necessary resources for the normal development of public health programs. They
also attempted to distort the international image of a democratic government.
The opposition, in fact, did not care for the large scale effort realized to
serve the impoverished areas with healthcare, a better quality of life,
diminution of illiteracy, the opening of 3,125 Bolivarian schools where children
enjoy breakfast, lunch and snacks daily, and the creation of new public
universities with available scholarships guaranteeing the culmination of these
lack of love!
stomachs full, they forgot of those who do not eat. With their access to
education, they decided to ignore the illiterate. With their private doctors and
hospitals, they chose to ignore the impoverished sickly. With their lives full
of luxury, they ignored those who suffer.
Recently, I was invited to a TV program where representatives from the
opposition, including a journalist from a Miami newspaper, very clearly stated
that the only solution in Venezuela was violence. I therefore ask myself: What
are they now planning? Is it that they are going to kill off all that great
majority with their weapons? Or, are they planning to kill them by starving
Alexa G. Weber is a Venezuelan that lives in South Florida. She has a PhD. in
psychology. She also has a Master’s Degree in public health from Harvard
University. And is also an odontologist with a post graduate degree in dental
prosthesis from Harvard.