Unemployment in Venezuela

By Aleksander Boyd

London 25.01.07 | El Universal reports that Venezuela's National Institute for Statistics (INE) announced yesterday "unemployment levels in Venezuela ended 8.4 percent in 2006; a slight decline compared with 2005." Do bear in mind that these figures come from the very same institution ordered by dictator Chavez to revert poverty figures in 2004. However Vcrisis collaborator Adolfo Fabregat recently finished crossing the National Electoral (CNE) roll and Venezuela's Institute of Social Security (IVSS) databases. The results, beyond pointing out mere electoral rigging -such as roughly 1,000,000 new voters since January last year-, are gobsmacking: of 16,082,374 registered voters 8,166,790 have no record with the IVSS, that is to say, officially, they have never been employed. Worse still, an additional 4,765,973 are unemployed (cesantes). This is to say that according to Venezuela's social security database 12,932,763 people are unemployed or put another way 80.41% of people registered to vote do not have a regular job or regular income associated with employment.

This, aside from being the clearest example of how dysfunctional the Venezuelan economy has become under the militaristic caudillo's rule, is unbelievable for how could one rationally explain that more than 8 million Venezuelans in working age have never had a job, have never paid social security contributions? How can it be explained that no record of them exist or could it be that, in the frantic drive to inflate the roll, the Chavez regime simply forgot to create employment records for millions of 'new voters'? Echoing the official nonsense many analysts have said that the economy is doing great, but how can that be, considering that nearly 13 million Venezuelans are unemployed? Who's making the economy's engine turn here? Could it be that Chavez has reinvented economic principles whereby is not required to count on the labor force to showcase alleged sustained levels of growth, or is the efficiency of 3,088,184 Venezuelans with formal employment such that the 'current boom' is attributable to their extraordinary performance?