The Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations (ECLAC), Ana Bárcena, confirmed the positive social statistics referred to by President Hugo Chávez during an interview with journalist Patricia Janiot last week on CNN. (Click here to watch the interview.)
Bárcena, in an interview with Luis Carlos Vélez on CNN en Español, emphasized that Venezuela made “very important” progress between 2002 and 2007 in areas like reducing unemployment and the fight against poverty.
“The data I can corroborate are that the unemployment rate fell from 11% to 7.4%; the extreme poverty rate effectively went from 25% to 8.5% as of 2007. . . . Poverty from 51 to 28%,” said Bárcena after being asked about the figures used by President Chávez.
In that interview, the President affirmed that the ECLAC recognized Venezuela as having the lowest inequality in Latin America. He also noted that the United Nations highlighted Venezuela as among the countries with the highest level of human development in the region, and presented data that showed a reduction in poverty.
For Bárcena, “Venezuela has implemented social programs that we must evaluate,” and has become one of the countries with the highest social spending, nearly 14% of its budget.
The ECLAC Executive Secretary also emphasized that Venezuela has “very positive social indicators.” Regarding the effects of the world economic crisis and the fall of oil prices, she said that “Venezuela could face it.”
Regarding inflation, Bárcena recognized its existence but said it is a problem “that is undergoing corrections throughout the world.”
Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias (ABN), Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Press Office / February 10, 2009