Through its social missions and greater social missions, the Bolivarian government has been paying special attention to health, education, housing, food and economic development. These are what it considers the five key elements to eradicate extreme poverty in Venezuela, which has fallen to 5.5% during these 15 years of Bolivarian Revolution.
“We are working on each of these elements in a synchronized manner with the Socialist Mission Offices,” said President Nicolás Maduro in reference to the National Campaign to Eradicate Extreme Poverty. This campaign works through Socialist Mission Offices and is aimed at directly helping the 1,500 communities in 225 municipalities throughout the country where over 70% of extreme poverty is concentrated.
A total of over 1.6 million people are living in extreme poverty in Venezuela, out of over 30 million inhabitants. To remedy this, President Maduro ordered the establishment of Socialist Mission Offices in priority communities that would directly manage health, education, housing, food and economic development programs at a local level.
“Since we are working in sync with missions, with greater mission, and in daily investments, be assured that our Venezuela, before the end of the second decade of the 21st century, will achieve its goal of zero extreme poverty, zero poverty,” Maduro stressed during an event marking the handover of homes in Miranda. At the event, 680 families received homes built through the Great Housing Mission, which has now finished over 600,000 residences since 2011, a figure without precedent in the country’s history.
The President emphasized that the goal of eradicating extreme poverty inspires the daily work of the Bolivarian government.
Since the beginning of the Bolivarian Revolution in 1999, 35 social programs, called missions or greater missions, have been launched in order to guarantee the human rights of the Venezuelan people in areas such as education, health, food, energy, housing and career training.
In his speech, Maduro explained that even though extreme poverty implies the absence of adequate health care, education and housing, as well as the lack of food and income, in Venezuela, extreme poverty is not the same as it was 20 years ago “because our people are no longer going hungry.”
He highlighted that the Revolution goes beyond guaranteeing access to food, including subsidized food, to promoting a balanced died.
The campaign to eradicate extreme poverty is an effort undertaken by the government whose central focus is providing direct aid to communities through diverse methods. One of these methods is house visits during events held Saturdays and Sundays. Doctors, psychologists, social workers, cultural and sporting experts go door to door along with the 12 ministries relating to social issues and the governors of each state. They speak to people who live in the poorest neighborhoods, which tend to be remote or difficult to access, in order to help them meet their most pressing needs and also register them in the ongoing activities carried about by the Socialist Mission Offices.
In that regard, President Maduro indicated that it is necessary to continue to spur development in health and public education, cultural promotion, the guarantee of dignified housing and a healthy environment, food sovereignty and security, and healthy nutrition, in addition to economic development to stabilize family incomes.
600,000 Homes, For Now
In a broadcast from the state of Miranda, the President spoke to several people via satellite. One of those conversations was held with people in Barinas state, where residence number 600,000 was handed over to an eager family.
The Pérez family, comprised of María Alejandra Pérez and her three children, received a home from Vice President Jorge Arreaza, thereby marking an important milestone for Venezuela’s Great Housing Mission.
María Alejandra told the Vice President that she used to live “in a room connected to my mother’s house, where it was very crowded, but now we have this beautiful apartment.”
“We are receiving dignified housing to be able to live joyful lives, as Chávez used to say,” Pérez said.
This greater mission was initially created by President Hugo Chávez to care for the thousands of families who were left homeless following intense storms in 2010 and 2011. The goal is to build home number 3 million by the end of 2019.
This year the government invested a total of 96 billion bolivars in the social program, announced Maduro on Sunday before urging the people to create safe communities.
He also noted that nearly 230 thousand homes are under construction and within the next few months home number 800,000 will be delivered.
“We are working hard each day to continue building a homeland for our children, for our people… This is a great human conglomerate of comprehensive development for housing and services, as well as for economic and industrial development,” Maduro added.
Organizing into Communes
The 1,280 families that live in the Nueva Cuidad Marizapa Residential Complex, located in the state of Miranda, should organize themselves into a commune to ensure that projects are completed on time.
President Maduro urged families to do this while also noting that this sort of people’s organizing will allow the community to participate in the People’s Government Council on Communes, which will strengthen the communication between the central government and the people.
“You cannot wait for the State to do things; we have to all be protagonists in history. The industrial, agricultural, sporting, cultural and other projects, are managed by the community through the People’s Government Council on Communes; they are sent to me and I approve them, meaning that there is direct communication between the organized people and the President,” he explained.
The President noted that the recently created Government Council on Communes needs to operate at a high level, thereby allowing it to eliminate the obstacles, inefficiencies and intermediaries between the State-organized community relationship. “That way the community can be in your hands, the ability will be yours. You need to organize and learn each day,” he said.
Luis Sanz, who received an apartment in Marizapa, said that the community is already in the process of establishing the Francisco de Miranda Commune.
“We have made progress in building people’s power in Marizapa, we have streamlined everything possible to continue building the commune,” he declared.
Sanz added that people who move into the new apartments should behave like model families and spur projects that will allow Marizapa to grow its economy, including production and tourism.
AVN / Press – Venezuelan Embassy in the US / August 14, 2014.