Venezuela: Another View
Letter to Scotsman newspaper 11 March 2010
In your vitriolic attacks on Venezuela, you
seem incapable of accepting that another world is possible.
On the tenth anniversary of the revolution
last year, I was able to visit Venezuela with a group of
trade unionists from across the UK. Our objective was to
see for ourselves what the “peaceful and democratic social
revolution” promised by Chavez had delivered.
Returning to work and the trade union office
after the visit, colleagues were curious and inquisitive.
How safe did we feel?
How often were you stopped by police?
How free were you to move about?
Was the army on the streets?
The state media control?
The daily broadcasts by the authoritarian
Were we able to eat properly?
Frankly, I was astonished. I had visited a
But these questions came from seasoned trade
unionists and senior activists in political parties. Dependent
on our open media for information.
In such a vast country of intense urban, vast
rural and dense forest areas, with a myriad of westernised
and indigenous populations, the great regret is that time
confined us to the Central North region, to greater Caracas
and Miranda, with both the urban sprawl and density, and
the urban and semi-rural impoverished Barrios.
We were welcomed wherever we travelled. We
witnessed the sense of pride, commitment and achievement,
in the programme of social change.
Addressing the various social needs and problems
identified by your articles is at the heart of the Bolivarian
They don’t ignore or hide them.
In key areas such as addressing child poverty,
reducing low incomes, providing access to decent services,
creating quality employment, are we in the “developed world”
making progress ? What more do we need to do to meet our
During our visit, Venezuela reported that
it had met its UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) six
years early, highlighting the achievements under Chavez.
Extreme poverty down from 29.8 % to 9.4%. An increase of
47.5% of women in education. Healthcare has reached the
poorest sections of society for the first time. An increase
from 68% in 1990 to 92% of people with access to safe drinking
Venezuela has a government which is implementing
policies which tackle social exclusion and deprivation.
The Venezuelan Government is consciously implementing socialist
policies and calls these changes a revolution.
Much still to be done to attack the decades
of neglect and abuse of the oil wealth.
There is much to be proud of.