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Members of Swiss Parliament Highlight Democracy, Development and Freedom of Speech in Venezuela

A delegation of members and former members of the Swiss Parliament visiting Venezuela to analyze the country's domestic reality expressed that there is a high level of democracy and freedom of speech in Venezuela. 
 
Switzerland, one of the world’s wealthiest and most developed countries with a consolidated democratic system, has shown interest in the advances and goals achieved by the Venezuelan government in social areas including health care, education and culture.    
 
Former Swiss parliamentarian Franco Cavalli, who also serves as coordinator of the Parliamentary Group of Friends of  the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) and of the delegation visiting the country, said that in 10 years Venezuela has achieved enormous goals in social development,  exceeding gains made during prior decades.
 
“When I first came to Venezuela in the 1980s I witnessed a very difficult situation in terms of social development. I remember that young people had no access to health care...Now I see high-interest initiatives such as Mission Barrio Adentro a project I have never seen before in undeveloped countries, which offers health care access to all the population,” Cavalli said.          
 
Cavalli said that in Switzerland the private health care and education systems are not that important since the state-owned network has been strengthened. “We are convinced than Venezuela is going in the right direction, because the future of the education and health care system, even in the developed world, is not in the private system.”
 
The former member of the Parliament added that the right to life, to health care and education are fundamental human rights; therefore, the developments achieved by Venezuela are very important.      
 
Furthermore, Cavalli assured that the growth of democracy in Venezuela has moved forward since pro-opposition activists have the possibility to freely express themselves on all TV stations and in all newspapers. 
 
“Venezuela is more democratic than any other nation in Latin America, Asia and even Europe, more specifically in Italy, where the prime minister controls all the media,” said Cavalli.
 
Cavalli added that freedom of speech in Venezuela is absolute. “I know, for instance, the Colombian reality, and I can say that pro-opposition supporters are very afraid to express themselves against the government in any medium, something that doesn’t happen here,”
 
Regarding private property in Venezuela, the former member of the Parliament remarked that it is not a divine law and that it can be limited when excesses are considered.
 
“Nevertheless, I consider this is an affair concerning the Venezuelan people,” said Cavalli.
 
The members of the Swiss delegation are returning to their country on Wednesday 10th of February, but they said that after this visit they wish to promote economic cooperation between Switzerland and Venezuela.
 
“We already have important investments, but we think that it can be increased, especially cooperation in fields such as education and medicine, in which we have had more advances than any other European country,” said Cavalli.
 
Bolivarian News Agency / Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the U.S. Press and Communications Office / February 9, 2010

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