Today in the corporate media, Venezuela’s economic problems are used to paint the country as a failed state, in need of foreign-backed regime change. To get the Bolivarian government’s side of the crisis, Abby Martin interviews Venezuela’s Minister of Economic Planning, Ricardo Menéndez. They discuss shortages, oil dependency, the role of the US-backed opposition movement and more. The Empire Files joined him in Cojedes, Venezuela, where he was speaking to mass community meetings, organizing the population to fight against what he calls an economic war.
At the time where the 'civilized' West is dominated by the brutal neoliberalism with inequality reaching unprecedented levels, social state and labor rights systematically dismantled, Venezuela has chosen a different path.
In the following part of the interview, Ricardo Menéndez gives the numbers proving that Venezuela rejected neoliberalism and started to create a more fair society for its citizens. Chavez' heritage is still strong, despite the economic war conducted by the US empire with the help of the right-wing opposition:
The total socially-invested resources in relation to the total income was gone from 39% to 74%. This is a real fact. This is unobjectionable.
This explains why a good part of our population, for instance, from the working population, before the Revolution 900,000 had technical training and university training. Today, the number has surpassed four million (4,000,000). The number of people with college degrees quadrupled.
The number of students in primary education has increased from 500,000 to 2,800,000.
The number of pensioners. Many of the liberal commentators will probably say: 'Oh, this is an old person, this program is expensive, let's get rid of it.' They are human beings. This is why we have increased the number of pensions to over 3,200,000. That number went from 370,000 to 3,280,000, the total number of people with pensions.
We invite other nations to compare those numbers. And we turned these numbers midst the economic war.
The quantity of infrastructure of schools has been enormously multiplied from the point of view of the schools. At the moment we have more than four million children included in the School Food Program. That is to say they get all the calories they need at school. We went from 45% school enrollment rate to a 90% school enrollment rate midst the economic war we face today.
We have built 1,600,000 homes in the last four years. That growth, being this is an investment in the economy. These houses are not given for nothing, people pay for these houses, but they don't pay speculative prices. For us, housing is not a commodity, housing is a social need and this is why it needs to be satisfied.
We are building a sustainable economic model. We are simply fairly distributing among the population and making our economy more solid.