What is it that Venezuelans liked so much about their late president Hugo Chavez?
In the 14 years of the Chavez government, infant mortality went down from 20 to 13 per thousand live births. Venezuela has free health care and free education, through college, for everyone. Poverty dropped from 49.9% in 1999 to 27.8% in 2010, and extreme poverty fell from 21.7% to 10.7 percent in the same period, according to the UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Perhaps the Chavez government’s crowning achievement was the establishment of communal councils, whereby people exercise power directly through self-governing communities. In those councils, people get together to make democratic decisions about issues pertaining to their community. Women make up a large proportion of the communal councils.
Some Americans mock Nicolas Maduro, the new president, because he was a bus driver and union activist, but how do those facts disqualify him for the presidency? In the U.S., what qualifies people for public office is wealth. Does wealth automatically make someone a good leader?
Like all other countries, Venezuela has problems; scarcity, corruption and a high murder rate are three of them. But Venezuela’s progressive government is tackling those problems today.