CARACAS.- April 19 marked two years since Nicolás Maduro was sworn in as President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the same date on which Venezuela gained independence from Spain in 1810.
Following the death of President Hugo Chávez, in March 2013, authorities have seen another intense phase in the implementation of public policies with an emphasis on the social sphere as well as new attacks from the domestic opposition with U.S. support.
According to Ernesto Villegas, head of the Caracas Capital District government and member of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) leadership, hostilities have not ceased, since the right refused to recognize Maduro’s victory at the polls on April 14, 2013, with 50.66% of the vote.
Since then the Maduro administration has faced violent acts and street demonstrations (guarimbas), economic warfare and media smear campaigns to sow chaos and destabilization in the country, he added.
In 2013, violent demonstrations encouraged by losing opposition candidate, Henrique Capriles, from the Primero Justicia party (Justice First), resulted in 11 deaths, including two minors, and more than 300 injuries.
A year later, under the plan known as “La Salida “ (The Ousting), orchestrated by Voluntad Popular (Popular Will) leader Leopoldo López, the attacks resumed leaving 43 dead and over 800 injured nationwide.
There were attempts to replicate scenarios of this nature in early 2015, but without the anticipated results.
On February 12, 2015, Maduro revealed a coup plot authorities had managed to dismantle, which included the shelling of residential areas in Caracas and institutions such as the Miraflores Presidential Palace, Telesur’s studios and the National Electoral Council, among others.
The ploy, according to the evidence revealed, had the backing of the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela and opposition leaders such as former deputy María Corina Machado, the legislator Julio Borges and Caracas Metro-politan Mayor, Antonio Ledezma, the latter now detained.
More recently, the Venezuelan government denounced the executive order issued by President Barack Obama, which described the country as a threat to U.S. national security and could be a prelude to a military invasion. The decree motivated worldwide condemnation as became clear at the Panama Summit of the Americas, April 10 - 11.
None of these or other attacks have halted the measures being implemented by President Nicolás Maduro’s administration for the welfare of the population and the poorest sectors of society.
An example of this are Venezuela’s investments in social and poverty reduction programs and pensions, as well as increasing employment levels, despite the opposition intensifying its economic war.
In this context, the social missions have been strengthened, increasing the amount of resources devoted to fighting poverty, which currently make up 64% of the national budget. Social investment has been directed to health, education and nutrition. New social missions such as Jóvenes de la Patria (Youth of the Homeland), Hogares de la Patria (Homes for the Homeland) and a Transport program have also been added.
New Presidential Councils of People's Government were created (for Municipalities, Culture, Women, Indigenous Peoples, Youth, Workers, Pensioners, the Disabled), who with their own proposals are called upon to strengthen efficiency in the implementation of public policies, overcome the rentier state and move towards a new production model.
According to Deputy Jesús Farías, of the PSUV, in the two years of the Maduro government the emphasis on social initiatives has increased by creating the foundations for missions that have tackled poverty. According to figures presented by the Vice President of Social Development and Education Minister, Héctor Rodríguez, extreme poverty was reduced from 21% to 5.4%, in the last 15 years.
Farías believes that another key achievement ihas been the consolidation of the civil-military union, initiated by Chávez in order to guarantee the nation’s sovereignty.
The request presented by Maduro to the National Assembly to pass an Enabling Law, according to the President of the parliament, Diosdado Cabello, allows the government to move forward with initiatives in areas such as the economy, food sovereignty, social justice, productive development, efficiency in planning and tackling corruption.
Venezuelan social policy has been recognized by the representative of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Marcelo Resende, who said that it is an example for the world and announced that the country would soon be honored for its achievements in relation to nutrition. (PL)