Tuesday, July 28, 2015

teleSUR Extreme Poverty in Venezuela Drops to 4.5%

The number of Venezuelans living in extreme poverty has dropped to a historic low of 4.5 percent, according to figures released Monday. “In the midst of an economic war, extreme poverty has dropped below 5 percent,” Planning vice president Ricardo Menendez said. He said the continued decline of poverty is vindicating “the model we are building.” “This figure represents the strengthening of the battle ... from the beginning of the great (social) missions there has been an outright decline in indicators of poverty, (such as) unsatisfied basic needs,” he said. The figure of 4.5 percent is nearly half that of neighboring Colombia, where over 8 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty according to 2014 statistics. It's also the lowest level in decades for Venezuela. When President Hugo Chavez was elected in 1998, 21 percent of homes were registered as experiencing extreme poverty. Under Chavez, the Venezuelan government created a series of anti-poverty programs called missions. Each mission targets a specific aspect of poverty, such as housing and education. Government funding for social spending including the missions has skyrocketed over the last decade. By 2014, extreme poverty had dropped to 5.4 percent. The massive reduction in poverty has been praised by international organizations including the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America.…
Extreme Poverty in Venezuela Drops to 4.5%


Matt Franko said...

"there has been an outright decline in indicators of poverty, (such as) unsatisfied basic needs,"

Wouldn't toilet paper qualify as a "basic need" ?

Or are they saying that if nobody has toilet paper that is less poverty than only some who have toilet paper?

Tom Hickey said...

Extreme poverty means not enough food.

Unknown said...

Toilet paper is a luxury for most of the world, and cannot be categorized as a basic need. Most of the world just uses water. Production of toilet paper uses four times the amount of clean water than is used to wash the rear end. A roll of TP uses 37 gallons of clean water in its production. See the Scientific American article Wipe or Wash?

Tom Hickey said...

Even in developed countries many think that using toilet paper is unsanitary in comparison with washing.

Dan Lynch said...

This source has the usual right wing slant but nonetheless sheds some light on the toilet paper situation: This is why there is no toilet paper in Venezuela.

since Venezuela has extensive currency exchange controls to regulate the flow of foreign currency, the government must approve all imports — and the red tape involved is legendary.

[this] creates incentives for people in the chain of production to take advantage of access to cheap dollars and sell them in the highly profitable black market. With "import dollars" reallocated to currency arbitrage, there is little money left to import the raw materials needed to make things that Venezuelans need.

Many subsidized consumer goods that are still available end up in Colombia, where they are sold at market prices. It’s a hugely lucrative business,

Sounds like a combination of Dutch Disease, fixed exchange rates, and bureaucracy?

Peter Pan said...

Many in Venezuela can't afford to install a bidet, let alone indoor plumbing.

Unknown said...

Bob, both bidets and toilet paper are rarely used in the developing world. You use a plastic mug filled with water, and wash your hands with soap afterwords. Both bidets and TP are luxury items.

Ryan Harris said...

"Even by the standards of a country as blessed with resource wealth as Venezuela, the Maracaibo basin is a marvel. It has been producing oil for a century, ponying up nearly 43 billion barrels so far. With 19 billion barrels of proven reserves remaining "

At the same time, the lake has degenerated into a stew of contaminants that include sulphide, fluoride, kjeldahl nitrogen, detergents, residential chlorine and fecal coliform, according to the website of the Institute for the Control and Conservation of Lake Maracaibo, or ICLAM, a Venezuela government entity created in 1981 and charged with care of the lake.

“There is great governmental irresponsibility, not just from this government but from those from more than 20 to 30 years ago,” said Gustavo Carrasquel, general director of Fundacion Azul Ambientalistas, an environmental and conservation non-profit founded in 1986. “The transnationals destroyed the lake and PDVSA doesn’t have the operational capacity to control the constant oil and gas leaks.”

Officials with PDVSA and Venezuela’s oil ministry didn’t reply to e-mails or phone calls seeking comment about the contamination in Lake Maracaibo and declining production from the basin.

From the deck of a PDVSA service boat, hundreds of rigs dot the horizon, some idle and others extracting their bounty at a leisurely pace. Oil saturated tree limbs float by. The water is speckled in duckweed, which can choke both the ecosystem and small motorboats.

Twenty-five thousand kilometers of oil and gas pipeline criss-crosses the lake bottom, much of it corroded and leaky. Oil leaching from this underwater labyrinth settles on the surface, looking like vast puddles of motor oil in a driveway after a rainfall.

Leaking Gas

Whirlpools of gurgling water testify to the permeability of the natural gas lines as well, An estimated 50 percent of natural gas transported in Lake Maracaibo is lost due to pipeline breaks or leaks, Gas Energy’s Alvarado said in a phone interview.

From The Houston Chronicle regarding the state of the environment around lake Maracaibo. The Venezuelan Govt of course blames trans-nationals (except transnationals haven't operated there in decades). Apparently pipelines and wells haven't been maintained and gas and oil freely spew into the environment. But gasoline still costs a few cents per gallon... To me this wealth comes at a price, and the government should be spending a portion of their proceeds protecting their environment and resources by maintaining or shuttering their wells and pipes. What will happen is in a few years, they will try and file suit against the "evil" companies from around the globe. The people that drilled the wells or laid the pipes will be blamed for the lack of annual maintenance. For their refusal to spend the large sums of money necessary to run clean and safe operations, their people will suffer from disease and contamination of water supplies, wildlife dies off.

Dan Lynch said...

Nationalization of Venezuela's oil industry did not begin until 2001 and was gradually phased in through 2006.

While I have no personal knowledge of the environmental problems around lake Maracaibo, it does seem probable that most of environmental damage occurred when private companies controlled the oil industry, not in the ten years that the oil has been nationalized.

The Houston Chronicle is of course a conservative rag from a region dominated by the petroleum industry. They have an agenda.