Mission Robinson is one of the Bolivarian Missions implemented by Hugo Chávez in 2003. The name "Robinson" was given to the Mission in remembrance of the pseudonym adopted during his exile from Spanish America by Venezuelan philosopher and educator Simón Rodríguez; the program uses volunteers to teach reading and arithmetic to Venezuelan adults who are illiterate. The program is military-civilian in nature, sends soldiers to, among other places and dangerous locales in order to reach the most undereducated and marginalized adult citizens to give them regular schooling and lessons. On the first anniversary of Mission Robinson's establishment, to an audience of 50,000 illiterate Venezuelans, Hugo Chávez Frías stated in the Teresa Carreño theater in Caracas that “it was a world record, in a year we have graduated 1,250,000 Venezuelans". On 28 October 2005, Venezuela declared itself a "Territory Free of Illiteracy", having raised the literacy rate to 99% according to initial government statements that changed to around 96%.
1,482,000 adults learned to write, as was announced in the context of the declaration. According to Francisco Rodríguez of Wesleyan University in Connecticut and Daniel Ortega of IESA, there has been “little evidence” of “statistically distinguishable effect on Venezuelan illiteracy”; the Venezuelan government claimed that it had taught 1.5 million Venezuelans to read, but the study found that "only 1.1m were illiterate to begin with" and that the illiteracy reduction of less than 100,000 can be attributed to adults that were elderly and died. Previous reports had claimed. In October 2006, Venezuelan Education Minister Aristóbulo Istúriz clarified that Venezuela had not received a UNESCO certification because the organisation does not certify literacy programs. "Venezuela is a sovereign nation, Venezuela declares itself Illiteracy-Free Territory," affirmed the minister. According to UNESCO, of Venezuelans aged 15 and older, 95.2% can read and write, one of the highest literacy rates in the region.
The literacy rate in 2007 was estimated to be 94.9 % for females. In 2007 primary education enrollment was around 93%; the Robinson Mission Venezuela Misión Robinson – Official government website
Producción y Distribución Venezolana de Alimentos is a nationwide food supply network in Venezuela. It was created by Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez and Petróleos de Venezuela in response to the high food demand and presumed stockpiling by private food sectors, creating food shortage. Along with the related Mission Mercal, it was started following the Venezuelan general strike of 2002–2003, which saw concerns about corporate control of food distribution. PDVAL's goal is to distribute basic goods such as meat, milk and other goods which prices are regulated by the government. From June 2010, PDVAL started being administrated by the Vicepresidency of Venezuela after the discovery of tons of decomposed food supplies around the country. Government opposition denounced the finding of thousands of containers with a total of 130.000 tons of decomposed supplies
The Bolivarian Revolution is a political process in Venezuela, led by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, the founder of the Fifth Republic Movement and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela. The Bolivarian Revolution is named after Simón Bolívar, an early 19th-century Venezuelan and Latin American revolutionary leader, prominent in the Spanish American wars of independence in achieving the independence of most of northern South America from Spanish rule. According to Chávez and other supporters, the Bolivarian Revolution seeks to build an inter-American coalition to implement Bolivarianism, nationalism and a state-led economy. On his 57th birthday, while announcing that he was being treated for cancer, Chávez announced that he had changed the slogan of the Bolivarian Revolution from "Motherland, socialism, or death" to "Motherland and socialism. We will live, we will come out victorious"; as of 2018, the vast majority of mayoral and gubernatorial offices are held by PSUV candidates, while the opposition Democratic Unity coalition won two thirds of parliamentary seats in 2015.
Political hostility between the PSUV and MUD have led to several incidents where both pro-government and opposition demonstrations have turned violent, with an estimated 150 dead as a result in 2017. Additionally, there are claims and counterclaims relating to the imprisonment of opposition figures, with the government claiming that their political status neither impedes nor motivates prosecution for the crimes that they have been convicted of, while the opposition claims that these arrests and charges are politically motivated. Since the death of Chavez, the revolution has gone into decline and the political and economic situation in Venezuela has deteriorated. Simón Bolívar has left a long lasting imprint on Venezuela's history in particular and South America in general; as a military cadet, Hugo Chávez was "a celebrant of the Bolivarian passion story". Chávez relied upon the ideas of Bolívar and on Bolívar as a popular symbol in his military career as he put together his MBR-200 movement which would become a vehicle for his 1992 coup-attempt.
South America in the late 1980s and early 1990s was just recovering from the Latin American debt crisis of the mid-1980s and many governments had adopted austerity and privatization policies to finance International Monetary Fund loans. Following the end of the Cold War and the fall of the military dictatorships in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, social movements including labor and indigenous currents opposed the austerity and called for debt forgiveness, sometimes resulting in clashes with the state, it was in this context that Chávez and MBR-200 won the 1998 elections and initiated the constituent process that resulted in the Venezuelan Constitution of 1999. Chavismo policies include social welfare programs and opposition to neoliberalism. According to Hugo Chávez, Venezuelan socialism accepts private property, but this socialism seeks to promote social property too. Chavismo support participatory democracy and workplace democracy. In January 2007, Chávez proposed to build the communal state, whose main idea is to build self-government institutions like communal councils and communal cities.
According to the United States Army Combined Arms Center: A few year after Chávez rose to power in 1999, he began implementing a political-strategic plan he called the'Bolivarian Revolution,' which threatened Latin American peace. Chávez's plan was characterized by a hostile and confrontational posture toward the United States, actions designed to export Chávez's autocratic, socialist model to other countries of the region, a foreign policy that embroiled Venezuela in international-level conflicts. Chávez was seen as a leader of the "pink tide", a turn towards left-wing governments in Latin American democracies. Analysts have pointed out additional anti-American and authoritarian-leaning traits in those governments. Chávez refocused Venezuelan foreign policy on Latin American economic and social integration by enacting bilateral trade and reciprocal aid agreements, including his so-called "oil diplomacy", making Venezuela more dependent on using oil and increasing its longterm vulnerability.
Though Chávez inspired other movements in Latin America to follow his model of chavismo in an attempt to reshape South America, it was seen as being erratic and his influence internationally became exaggerated, with the pink tide beginning to subside in 2009. The social programs that came into being during the term of Hugo Chávez sought to reduce social disparities and were funded in large part by oil revenues; the sustainability and design of the welfare programs have been both criticized. Specific examples of social programs are listed below. Plan Bolívar 2000 was the first of the Bolivarian Missions enacted under of administration of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. According to the United States Department of State, Chávez wanted to "send the message that the military was not a force of popular repression, but rather a force for development and security"; the United States State Department commented that this happened "only 23 days after his inauguration" and that he wanted to show his closest supporters "that he had not forgotten them".
The plan involved around 40,000 Venezuelan soldiers engaged in door-to-door anti-poverty activities, including mass vaccinations, food distribution in slum areas and education. Several scandals affected the program as allegations of corruption were formulated against Generals involved in the plan, arguing that significant a
Mission Barrio Adentro
Mission Barrio Adentro is a Bolivarian national social welfare program established by the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez. The program seeks to provide comprehensive publicly funded health care, dental care, sports medicine to poor and marginalized communities in Venezuela. Two features of Misión Barrio Adentro are the construction of thousands of two-story medical clinics and staffing with resident-certified medical professionals. Billed as an attempt to deliver a de facto form of universal healthcare, Barrio Adentro became a way to grant access to medical care to Venezuelan citizens whose political stance the Bolivarian government deemed acceptable; the Latin American branch of the World Health Organization and UNICEF praised the program in 2005. According to WHO statistics, infant mortality fell from 23 to 20 in males and 19 to 17 in females per 1,000 births between 2003 and 2005. Of a planned 8,500 Barrio Adentro I centers, 2,708 had been built by May 2007, using an investment of around US$126 million, with a further 3,284 under construction.
As of 2006, the staff included 31,439 professionals, technical personnel, health technicians, of which 15,356 were Cuban doctors and 1,234 Venezuelan doctors. In 2014, the government celebrated eleven years of the mission, claiming that over 10,000 clinics were created. In Caracas, Mission Barrio Adentro I and II centers in 32 parishes were the subject of constant complaints regarding performance after receiving 1.492 million Bolivares from the government. Councilman Alejandro Vivas stated that "instead of having positive results, what is observed is the discontent of the citizens for a performance that leaves much to be desired"; as of December 2014, it was estimated that 80% of Barrio Adentro establishments were abandoned in Venezuela, with the majority of Cuban medical personnel leaving the country. By the end of 2015, the Bolivarian government reported that one in three of Venezuelan patients admitted to public health facilities that year died. In October 2016, the Miami Herald reported that hundreds of doctors were being recalled by the Cuban government due to a lack of payments by Venezuela.
The Barrio Adentro program was developed against the backdrop of a public health sector crumbling under long-term financial pressure. As part of Rafael Caldera's neo-liberalist programs of the early 1990s, a Venezuela struggling with inflation and low oil prices was forced into spending cuts and privatization in a number of sectors, including healthcare. A 1989 decentralization law contributed to the trend. Cost recovery became prevalent through "voluntary" contributions from users. In addition to the problems with the healthcare system, over the course of the decade, health problems caused by poverty increased. By 1999, 67.7% of the Venezuelan population was living in poverty, from 44.4% in 1990. In 1999, following the election of Hugo Chávez, the Ministry of Health planned to develop a new National Public Health System, with a particular focus on health promotion, disease prevention, community participation, the strengthening of the primary health care infrastructure; the 2000/1 annual report by PROVEA highlighted a number of positive features of the new approach, including a wider availability of health services through progressive elimination of users’ fees.
The Barrio Adentro program is an example of Latin American Social Medicine, which became prominent in the 1960s and 1970s. Among others in Latin America, both Salvador Allende in Chile in the early 1970s and Tabaré Vázquez in Uruguay since 2005 have implemented LASM principles. LASM's roots can be traced back to 19th-century European social medicine, exported to Latin America in the early 20th century. LASM emphasises a collective and holistic approach to healthcare, rather than treating the particular symptoms of an individual, thus the importance of health promotion and disease prevention is stressed—informed by the political and social determinants of health—over a reactive treatment of health problems as they occur. LASM incorporates the concept of primary health care, of which the "simplified healthcare" adopted in rural Venezuela in the 1960s and 1970s was one form. More in 2006, Barrio Adentro was described by the Director of the PAHO as "the culmination of 25 years of experience in Latin America and the rest of the world in transforming health systems through the primary health care strategy."When Hugo Chávez became President in 1999, he sought to implement LASM principles, beginning with their incorporation into the new 1999 Venezuelan Constitution, in articles 83–85 of Title III.
These articles enshrine free and high quality healthcare as a human right guaranteed to all Venezuelan citizens. Notably, Article 84 of Title III follows LASM principles in declaring health promotion and disease prevention a priority. In addition, Article 85 mandates that the government provide adequate funding for the public healthcare system, while Article 84 explicitly proscribes its privatization. Initial attempts to transform the Ministry of Health to LASM principles were met with little success; the Venezuelan Medical Federation was aligned with the Punto F
Nicolás Maduro Moros is a Venezuelan politician serving as President of Venezuela since 2013, disputed president since January 2019. AP News reported that "familiar geopolitical sides" had formed in the 2019 Venezuelan presidential crisis, with allies Russia, Iran and Cuba supporting Maduro, the US, most of Western Europe supporting Juan Guaidó as interim president. Beginning his working life as a bus driver, Maduro rose to become a trade union leader before being elected to the National Assembly in 2000, he was appointed to a number of positions under President Hugo Chávez and was described in 2012 by the Wall Street Journal as the "most capable administrator and politician of Chávez's inner circle". He served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2006 to 2013 and as Vice President of Venezuela from 2012 to 2013 under Chávez. After Chávez's death was announced on 5 March 2013, Maduro assumed the presidential powers and responsibilities. A special presidential election was held in 2013, which Maduro won with 50.62% of the vote as the United Socialist Party of Venezuela candidate.
He has ruled Venezuela by decree since 19 November 2013 through powers granted to him by the pre-2015 Venezuela legislature. Shortages in Venezuela and decreased living standards led to protests beginning in 2014 that escalated into daily marches nationwide, repression of dissent and a decline in Maduro's popularity. According to The New York Times, Maduro's administration was held "responsible for grossly mismanaging the economy and plunging the country into a deep humanitarian crisis" and attempting to "crush the opposition by jailing or exiling critics, using lethal force against antigovernment protesters". An opposition-led National Assembly was elected in 2015 and a movement toward recalling Maduro began in 2016; the Supreme Tribunal removed power from the elected National Assembly, resulting in a constitutional crisis and protests in 2017. Maduro called for a rewrite of the constitution, the Constituent Assembly of Venezuela was elected in 2017, under what many—including Venezuela's chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega and Smartmatic, the company that ran the voting machines—considered irregular voting conditions.
On 20 May 2018, presidential elections were called prematurely. The majority of nations in the Western world did not recognize the Constituent Assembly election or the validity of Maduro's 2018 reelection. Maduro has been described as a "dictator", an Organization of American States report determined that crimes against humanity have been committed during his presidency. Maduro allies including China, Russia and Turkey support and denounce what they call interference in Venezuela's domestic affairs. Amid widespread condemnation, President Maduro was sworn in on 10 January 2019, the President of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, was declared the interim President by that body on 23 January 2019. Maduro's government states that the crisis is a "coup d'état led by the United States to topple him and control the country's oil reserves." Guaidó denies the coup allegations. Nicolás Maduro Moros was born on 23 November 1962 in Caracas, into a working-class family, his father, Nicolás Maduro García, a prominent trade union leader, died in a motor vehicle accident on 22 April 1989.
His mother, Teresa de Jesús Moros, was born in Cúcuta, a Colombian border town at the boundary with Venezuela on "the 1st of June of 1929, as it appears in the National Registry of Colombia". He was born into a leftist family and "militant dreamer of the Movimiento Electoral del Pueblo". Maduro was raised in Calle 14, a street in Los Jardines, El Valle, a working-class neighborhood on the western outskirts of Caracas; the only male of four siblings, he had "three sisters, María Teresa and Anita". Maduro was raised as a Roman Catholic, although in 2012 it was reported that he was a follower of Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba and visited the guru in India in 2005. Racially, Maduro has indicated that he identifies as mestizo, stating that he includes as a part of his mestizaje admixture from the Indigenous peoples of the Americas and Africans, he stated in a 2013 interview that "my grandparents were Jewish, from a Sephardic Moorish background, converted to Catholicism in Venezuela". Maduro has been married twice.
His first marriage was to Adriana Guerra Angulo, with whom he had his only son, Nicolás Maduro Guerra known as "Nicolasito", appointed to several senior government posts. He married Cilia Flores, a lawyer and politician who replaced Maduro as President of the National Assembly in August 2006, when he resigned to become Minister of Foreign Affairs, becoming the first woman to serve as President of the National Assembly; the two had been in a romantic relationship since the 1990s when Flores was Hugo Chávez's lawyer following the 1992 Venezuelan coup d'état attempts and were married in July 2013 months after Maduro became president. While they have no children together, Maduro has three step-children from his wife's first marriage to Walter Ramón Gavidia.
Venezuela the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, is a country on the northern coast of South America, consisting of a continental landmass and a large number of small islands and islets in the Caribbean Sea. The capital and largest urban agglomeration is the city of Caracas, it has a territorial extension of 916,445 km2. The continental territory is bordered on the north by the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Colombia, Brazil on the south and Tobago to the north-east and on the east by Guyana. With this last country, the Venezuelan government maintains a claim for Guayana Esequiba over an area of 159,542 km2. For its maritime areas, it exercises sovereignty over 71,295 km2 of territorial waters, 22,224 km2 in its contiguous zone, 471,507 km2 of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean under the concept of exclusive economic zone, 99,889 km2 of continental shelf; this marine area borders those of 13 states. The country has high biodiversity and is ranked seventh in the world's list of nations with the most number of species.
There are habitats ranging from the Andes Mountains in the west to the Amazon basin rain-forest in the south via extensive llanos plains, the Caribbean coast and the Orinoco River Delta in the east. The territory now known as Venezuela was colonized by Spain in 1522 amid resistance from indigenous peoples. In 1811, it became one of the first Spanish-American territories to declare independence, not securely established until 1821, when Venezuela was a department of the federal republic of Gran Colombia, it gained full independence as a country in 1830. During the 19th century, Venezuela suffered political turmoil and autocracy, remaining dominated by regional caudillos until the mid-20th century. Since 1958, the country has had a series of democratic governments. Economic shocks in the 1980s and 1990s led to several political crises, including the deadly Caracazo riots of 1989, two attempted coups in 1992, the impeachment of President Carlos Andrés Pérez for embezzlement of public funds in 1993.
A collapse in confidence in the existing parties saw the 1998 election of former coup-involved career officer Hugo Chávez and the launch of the Bolivarian Revolution. The revolution began with a 1999 Constituent Assembly, where a new Constitution of Venezuela was written; this new constitution changed the name of the country to Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. The sovereign state is a federal presidential republic consisting of 23 states, the Capital District, federal dependencies. Venezuela claims all Guyanese territory west of the Essequibo River, a 159,500-square-kilometre tract dubbed Guayana Esequiba or the Zona en Reclamación. Venezuela is among the most urbanized countries in Latin America. Oil was discovered in the early 20th century, today, Venezuela has the world's largest known oil reserves and has been one of the world's leading exporters of oil; the country was an underdeveloped exporter of agricultural commodities such as coffee and cocoa, but oil came to dominate exports and government revenues.
The 1980s oil glut led to a long-running economic crisis. Inflation peaked at 100% in 1996 and poverty rates rose to 66% in 1995 as per capita GDP fell to the same level as 1963, down a third from its 1978 peak; the recovery of oil prices in the early 2000s gave. The Venezuelan government under Hugo Chávez established populist social welfare policies that boosted the Venezuelan economy and increased social spending, temporarily reducing economic inequality and poverty in the early years of the regime. However, such populist policies became inadequate, causing the nation's collapse as their excesses—including a uniquely extreme fossil fuel subsidy—are blamed for destabilizing the nation's economy; the destabilized economy led to a crisis in Bolivarian Venezuela, resulting in hyperinflation, an economic depression, shortages of basic goods and drastic increases in unemployment, disease, child mortality and crime. These factors have precipitated the Venezuelan Migrant Crisis where more than three million people have fled the country.
By 2017, Venezuela was declared to be in default regarding debt payments by credit rating agencies. In 2018, the country's economic policies led to extreme hyperinflation, with estimates expecting an inflation rate of 1,370,000% by the end of the year. Venezuela is a charter member of the UN, OAS, UNASUR, ALBA, Mercosur, LAIA and OEI. According to the most popular and accepted version, in 1499, an expedition led by Alonso de Ojeda visited the Venezuelan coast; the stilt houses in the area of Lake Maracaibo reminded the Italian navigator, Amerigo Vespucci, of the city of Venice, Italy, so he named the region Veneziola, or "Little Venice". The Spanish version of Veneziola is Venezuela. Martín Fernández de Enciso, a member of the Vespucci and Ojeda crew, gave a different account. In his work Summa de geografía, he states that the crew found indigenous people who called themselves the Veneciuela. Thus, the name "Venezuela" may have evolved from the native word; the official name was Estado de Venezuela, República de Venezuela, Estados Unidos de Venezuela, a
Economic policy of the Hugo Chávez administration
From his election in 1998 until his death in March 2013, the administration of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez proposed and enacted economic policies known as the Bolivarian Revolution. In the early 2000s when oil prices soared and offered Chavez funds not seen since the beginning of Venezuela's economic collapse in the 1980s, Chávez's government became "semi-authoritarian and hyper-populist" and consolidated its power over the economy in order to gain control of large amounts of resources. Domestically, Chavez used such oil funds for populist policies, creating the "Bolivarian Missions", aimed at providing public services to improve economic and social conditions; such policies included redistribution of wealth, land reform, democratization of economic activity via workplace self-management and creation of worker-owned cooperatives. Internationally, the Chávez administration used oil production to increase autonomy from United States and European governments and used oil funds to promote economic and political integration with other Latin American nations.
Venezuela's economy improved during much of the Chávez presidency, trending positive until the oil price collapse in 2013. From 1999 through 2013, inflation dropped to its lowest levels in the country since the late 1980s, unemployment dropped drastically, following many years of increases before Chávez was elected. In 1999, when Chávez took office, unemployment was 14.5 percent. Poverty decreased dropping by nearly 50 percent since the oil strike, with extreme poverty dropping by over 70 percent; as Chávez' successor Nicolás Maduro began to increase domestic spending after the oil price collapse, high inflation, currency controls, an unfriendly environment with private businesses, the risk of default prevented the entrance of stronger foreign currencies into Venezuela. The Chávez government turned to China to fund its overspending on social programs. Despite warnings near the beginning of Chávez's tenure in the early 2000s, Chávez's government continuously overspent in social spending and did not save enough money for any future economic turmoil, which Venezuela faced shortly before and after his death.
Other industries suffered as a result of the over-reliance on oil, with the share of manufacturing in GDP dropping from 17.4% in 1998 when Chavez took office to 14.2% in 2012. As a result of Chávez's overspending and policies such as price controls, there were shortages in Venezuela and the inflation rate grew to one of the highest in the world. Venezuela is a major producer of oil products. Under the Chávez government, crude oil production decreased from 3.12 million barrels a day when Chávez took office in 1999, to 2.95 million barrels a day in 2007, whilst oil prices increased 660%. The state income from oil revenue "increas from 51% of total income in 2000 to 56% 2006". Indeed, Stephen Randall, Director of the University of Calgary's Latin American Research Centre, points out that during his years in power Venezuela increased its dependency on oil exports to 95% from 80% when he took power in 1999. Furthermore, before the financial crisis in 2008 Venezuelan oil was selling at $129/bbl, it dropped to $43/bbl by March 2009.
Instead of reining in spending Chavez responded to reduced revenues by introducing more exchange controls and continuing with nationalizations. A 2014 article by CNBC stated that under Chávez, oil production declined from 3.5 million barrels per day to 2.6 million barrels per day, though Venezuela only made a profit from 1.4 million barrels per day due to Venezuela giving large amounts of its oil away for free. CNBC continued stating that though oil production decreased, public spending increased to over 50% of the GDP, spending more than received in oil profits which led to foreign loans that amounted to over $106 billion as of 2012. Foreign investment flows by the end of his presidency in 2013 were half what they had been in 1999. In response to the low oil prices at the end of the 1990s, Chavez played a leading role within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to reinvigorate that organisation and obtain members' adherence to lower production quotas designed to drive up the oil price.
Venezuelan oil minister Alí Rodríguez Araque's announcement in 1999 that his country would respect OPEC production quotas marked "a historic turnaround from the nation's traditional pro-US oil policy." On 13 November 2001, under the enabling law authorized by the National Assembly, President Chávez enacted the Hydrocarbons Law, which came into effect in January 2002. The new Hydrocarbons Law required that a minimum of 51% of PDVSA be owned by the Venezuelan government, increased royalties paid by foreign corporations from 16.6% to 30% in an attempt to repatriate more petroleum funds to Venezuela. Chávez used PDVSA funds to support political projects. In 2004, $1.5 billion of the $15 billion budget of PDVSA was directed to be used for funding social programs, this was raised to $4 billion per year. Chávez explored the liquidation of some or all of the assets belonging to PDVSA's US-based subsidiary, which received criticism amongst the Venezuelan public due to corruption. According to finance minister Nelson Merentes, the Venezuelan 2006 budget would get more income from taxation than from the petroleum industry, unlike formerly.
The economist and Chávez policy supporter Mark Weisbrot, in an analysis of the Chávez administration, said: "The current economic expansion began when the government got control over the national oil comp