[OPE-L] Venezuelan Poverty Rate Drops Dramatically

From: Jerry Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Fri May 26 2006 - 14:40:16 EDT

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Venezuela News & Action 
Sent: Friday, May 26, 2006 1:30 PM
Subject: Venezuelan Poverty Rate Drops Dramatically

Think Tank: Venezuelan Poverty Rate Drops Dramatically

The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) this week released a new report on Venezuela's poverty rates. The research team found a marked decrease in poverty over the course of President Chavez' term. While in 1998, the year Chavez was first elected, more than 55% of the Venezuelan public lived below the poverty line, today less than 44% do. And that's just an analysis of cash income. When you take into account that the poorest Venezuelans spend far less money on health care, nutrition and education today because of the social missions, the number drops to 35%. In all, a 20% drop in poverty can be calculated in recent years.

Yet many newspaper accounts still claim the opposite. As CEPR discovered, reporters continue to use figures from the first half of 2004, when Venezuela's economy was reeling from the petroleum industry shutdown, led by oil executives in a failed attempt to drive Chavez from office. In other words, reporters are using two year old data from the worst economic period of Chavez' term in order to make the case that the economy remains in bad shape. CEPR presents a number of recent examples, including:

* A January 2006 Editorial in the Washington Post, which reads, "In Venezuela, poverty rose from 43 to 53 percent during Mr. Chavez's first six [sic] years in office."

* A report in Foreign Affairs magazine that states, "Venezuela's poverty figures and human development indices have deteriorated since 1999, when Chávez took office;" and 

* A similar story in Foreign Policy last January, claiming that "Chavez has failed to improve any meaningful measure of poverty, education, or equity."

Each of these pieces were written long after the 2005 numbers were available.

Please take the time to read the CEPR report, either in HTML or PDF format, and be sure use it to respond to future press stories on Venezuela's economy.


NOTE: The Venezuela Information Office is dedicated to informing the American 

public about contemporary Venezuela, and receives its funding from the 

government of Venezuela. More information is available from the FARA office 

of the Department of Justice in Washington DC. 

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