The New Socialism Has Submerged Venezuela into Deepest Poverty
By Vestalia Sampedro de Araujo | El Impulso
Barquisimeto (Venezuela), 9 May 2005 | “It is detestable that the government has decided to increase oil shipments to Cuba.” The head of the parliamentary opinion group Proyecto Venezuela, Vestalia Sampedro de Araujo, affirmed that “the implementation of the new socialism has left Venezuela submerged in deepest poverty.”
The assemblywoman further stated that, according to figures known to her, poverty has increased 4% since Hugo Chávez reached the Presidency of the Republic. The fundamental reasons for that increase, she stated, are on the one hand political decisions, and, on the other hand, corruption. “Corruption in the mismanagement of public resources, and the implementation of inadequate policies, has caused the impoverishment of the Venezuelan people. We Venezuelans have to condemn the actions of the Government, which have meant lit streets, but dark houses.” In this respect, she said that we must repudiate the fact that the Government, while admitting it does not meet the oil production quota necessary for guaranteeing revenues to cover public expenditures for 2005, nevertheless “has decided to increase shipments of crude to Cuba from 50 thousand to 80 or 90 thousand daily barrels.”
"It is also reprehensible that it devalued the currency down to 2,150 bolívares to the dollar, which represents [a devaluation of] 280% since it began its administration, while keeping the IDB [tax on each bank transaction] and even an IVS [value added sales tax] of 15%, and at the same time increasing the list of sales and services applicable to it.” To which respect she stated, “All of this diminishes the amount of money in people’s hands, which keeps them from purchasing goods and services.”
“Furthermore, the rotting process of corruption corrodes the public coffers, thus increasing the number of people kept from partaking of the riches generated by the State. I say this because at the National Assembly the Government reported that the beneficiaries of the missions [social projects involving medical assistance, literacy programs, etc, using Cuban personnel] are made up the working masses, but they are assigned 160,000 bolívares, when the minimum wage is 405,000 [per month] and the basic needs basket is at 1,144,144 bolívares per month.
She emphasized that there is much talk of cases of corruption in the use of State property for the personal benefit of the current rulers, giving as examples the hitching of rides and going on tours using PDVSA aircraft [Petróleos de Venezuela], contracts being granted without any bidding process, overpayments made by the Government for public goods and services. “It is evident that the oil does not belong to the people and just over 6% of Venezuelans have sufficient money to buy products for the basic needs basket.”
Translation by W.K.
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