Sunday, March 31, 2013

Lamb And Eggs
New Addition To Socialist Kitchen Tips Page


Lamb chops to be precise. Read about it at the link on the right hand side of the page. My thoughts on lamb, the stridentness hierarchy of meat, discount meat and horseradish, and ponder the synapse damage I experienced during the wild years as I discuss at some length peanut oil, which I didn't use in preparing lamb and eggs.



.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Famous Quotes


“Socialism, this is the direction, this is the path to save the planet, I don’t have the least doubt. Capitalism is the road to hell, to the destruction of the world.” -Hugo Chavez in a speech at the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009


"Socialism no more prescribed Joseph Stalin and his secret police and shuttered churches than Christianity prescribed the Spanish Inquisition. Christianity and socialism alike, in fact, prescribe a society dedicated to the proposition that all men, women, and children are created equal and shall not starve.” -Kurt Vonnegut from "A Man Without a Country"





I'd intended to just post the two quotes, but the quote by Kurt Vonnegut reminds me of something I've wanted to write about and will say a few words about now. As for the Chavez quote, some critics of Capitalism think its internal logic leaves it incapable of doing anything about climate change. If restricting emissions hurts the stock price, if just won't, cannot, happen. On the other hand, Capitalism has shown itself to be flexible and able to adopt to circumstances. It adopted to the rise of Socialism, for example, by coming up with the New Deal in the US and similar policies in Europe by which government co-opted many Socialist programs, like Social Security and Workman's Comp, that had massive appeal to working people and had resulted in Socialist parties gaining great strength in Europe and, although its' pretty much erased from history, in the US, programs that, now that Socialism isn't a threat, Capitalism is doing away with.

So far, the first take on Capitalism is winning. Capitalism is not adapting to climate change and we're on the road to hell.
 

Republican Christianity

The quote by Kurt Vonnegut reminded me of something I noticed about Conservative Christianity during one of my periodic returns to Christianity, which have happened during times of trouble or when I was in the mood to seek out a particular type of woman. There's some hot babes in church, men, and the fact that they attend church doesn't matter to them, if it doesn't matter to you.

Seriously though, during my last return to religion, about ten years ago, I was on the road and was listening to a lot of religious radio. About religious radio, I noticed that all but a few local programs come from one of two giant religious radio networks, and both are politically conservative.

I had decided, too, to read the Bible, once and for all, to try to get a sense of its overall take on things. How is it organized? Is there an internal coherence to it? What's the design if there is one?

I'd been raised in a Liberal Methodist Church and knew a lot of Bible stories, but had never read the good book cover to cover, so I when I ate at truck stop restaurants, which I do once or twice a day, I'd take it in with me. During this time I noticed that Conservative Christianity takes all its doctrine from the books written by Paul. None of it is from the books that contain the teaching of Jesus; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, which are sometimes referred to as "the Gospels."

I even heard one of the big time radio preachers refer to the books written by Paul as "the doctrinal books." I've not heard a "Biblical" justification for why Conservative Christianity takes all its doctrine (codification of beliefs, body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions) from Paul and none from Jesus, or seen an official written policy or anything, but it can easily be demonstrated. ("Biblical," by the way, is how Conservative Christians refer to their own peculiar interpretation of the Bible. If they agree with it, it's Biblical, if they don't, it's not.)

Just look at a list of the sermons by a Conservative Christianity preacher and note the Bible verses they are taken from. It's all from Paul. Never, for example, will you hear a Conservative Christian preacher tell you to give all your money to the poor, which is what Jesus said to do. Jesus said that if someone asks you for your shirt, give him your coat also. In another place he said the same thing in a different way; if someone asks you for something, give it to them. He didn't say to have them fill out a form and have a seat, or get a job first, or that they should be drug tested, nor did he say, as the Clinton welfare reform says, give it to them for five years and then don't give it to them any more. He said to give it to them, period.

Conservative Christianity has none of this. It has only what a Republican political philosophy would permit it to have. They keep Jesus around, of course, because they think he's going to save their sorry asses from eternal damnation, but they have no use for his teachings of humility, love and generosity. 

I've not written about this before because I wanted to prove the case with actual examples, which will take some research. Lacking that, you might not be able to take my word for this, and you might not be familiar enough with the contrast between the teachings of Paul and Jesus for it to have any impact, but I think this case should be made publicly and Conservative Christians should be called out for the hypocrites it makes them out to be.

Paul was a conservative bastard. Before taking over the early church he'd been one of the Jewish religious police, a Pharisee, turning people in for not doing what he thought they should be doing. It was Paul who said "If you don't work you don't eat." In other words, 'Die, I don't care.' Jesus never said anything remotely like that.

Paul also said that women should shut up and sit down in church, and said to women, keep your head covered because it arouses men's passions. In other words, if we can't control our passions it's your fault.


There are actually two Christianities, Conservative and Liberal. Liberal Christianity, however, is not the opposite, because it leaves itself with the dilemma of what to do about the teachings of Paul, if it buys into the notion that the Bible is the word of God. Some Liberal minded clergy don't think it is -- they refer to in their writings sometimes as "the normative text," which I guess means it's some sort of guideline -- but they won't come out and contradict the widespread Conservative notion that the Bible was somehow dictated to its various writers by God.

This opens up another issue -- how the notions of the Bible's origin, and its presumed inerrance, came to be, and also how to Bible came to be, that I also want to write about. It's enough for a book, really.

As for the topic at hand, as I say, although Conservative Christianity entirely ignores the teachings of Jesus -- which might surprise many people -- I have not seen a justification for it, although I do have a theory that explains it.

I think that as we develop as children, our political views form first and our religious views form later. I'm talking not just about Democrat or Republican, I'm talking about "small p" political, taken from polity, Greek for any governing unit. I mean our world view.  How we see ourselves in relation to the society around us. I might also say our social viewpoint, which encompass our political views. How we relate to the world around us. Our world view encompasses how we see our place in the world, and we how we the place of others, and how we should all act, and our politics is determined by all of these beliefs. Should we, for example, through government, help each other out, or are we all on our own?

As children we observe our parents and hear them say things. We see how they interact with other people. Our parents are a great influence because that's all we see at first. Later we hear our peers say and do things. We learn what other people think and see how problems are solved on the playground and in the classroom. We see how what we try to do works out.

We begin to have our own sense of how we relate to the world around us. If we hear a lot of "Those people should do this..." and "Those people should do that.." we get that sense of us and them.  We get the sense that there are "people," us, and there are others.

If we hear "Those people should get a job" and "Those people should work like I do" we get one kind of sense of us and them.

We get another if we hear "It's almost impossible to work when industry has abandoned your part of town and you have to get yourself and your kids up at 5 a.m., take a bus for a half hour to drop the younger kids off at day care, which takes 40 percent of your salary, then take another bus for an hour to get to work, then do the same thing on the way home and get home at 7:30 and still haven't gone to the grocery store or washed clothes or made dinner or helped the older kids with their homework."

That's how our political views are formed, and that starts early in our life. As for our religious views, if we're taken to church we get Bible stories, but we don't get much help in incorporating them into our world view. That requires more sophisticated thinking skills, and an understanding of human nature.

Before we really obtain those though, we gain the ability to see the hypocricy in religion. If we don't have the kind of world view that enables us to understand why there is hypocrisy in life, an expansive world view, that has incorporated into it an ability to love other people in spite of their shortcomings, we will either turn away from religion, or we have to narrow our religious thinking, the way Conservative Christianity does by simply eliminating the teachings of Jesus.

Or we may make to leap to being an atheist, which is an entirely rational thing to do but requires having the strength to believe that we can only have faith in ourselves, and other people.

But if we want to maintain some sense of religiosity, whether we think of ourself as deeply religious or agnostic or a skeptic, seeing religion perhaps as humankind's attempts to express a set of deep-seated urges, life will continually throw things up that we must incorporate into our world view. If we want to have religion, we have to have a religion that can incorporate everything that comes up, and still be incorporated into our world view.

Conservatives have to leave out the teachings of Jesus because they've already decided that we are on our own, that we have no responsibility for others, particulary as they get further and further from our core group, our family, and as we extend that outward to include into our church, our town, our state, our nation, our religion.

I think of it as Republican Christianity, because it's a religion that has to be able to be incorporated into a Republican kind of world view. Because all of us, Republicans, Democrats, Socialists, or whatever, form our world view first, and if we are Baptists, Methodists, Sunnis, Shias, or anything else, we are only that second.










 





Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Iraq


Today is the tenth anniversary of the war against the people of Iraq. 


 
More than a million have died, including more than 4,000 of the more important Americans. Millions are still displaced. Who knows how many are living with missing arms and legs, without fathers and mothers, with permanent emotional scars, with nightmares about the soldiers with guns who banged on the door in the middle of the night.

Anti-War.com keeps a tally of the Americans killed and maimed. Socialist Worker is running a four part series on the war, including the current installment, The US war machine unleashed in Iraq.





.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Success Of New Mexico's Export Business

Because of some taxpayer funded, government programs that many New Mexican businesses take advantage of, New Mexico is one of the top 11 states when it comes to selling stuff to other countries, and those exports create many of our jobs and put billions into our economy.

To repeat: New Mexican business has discovered a gold mine in the export business, because of our government, which helped the businesses get their leads, helped them check out the clients they'd be signing contracts with, helped them through the complex export process, helped with all of it.

You'd never know any of this from listening to any Democratic elected official, who sit back while Republicans make ceaseless, vicious attacks on government and attribute all of our success to the mythic American entrepreneurial spirit. In fact, Democrats even participate in this kind of misrepresentation.

I only know it because I deciphered it from a column in today's Albuquerque Journal by Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco J Sanchez.

Sanchez says New Mexico's businesses exported $3 billion worth of New Mexican made products to other countries last year. He said that represents double digit growth from 2011.

He provides more statistics showing how New Mexico's exports have gone up dramatically, and then talks about the jobs this creates.

He didn't give any figures for New Mexico but said that nationwide, 9.8 millions jobs are "supported by exports."

Finally, near the end, he mentions that government has something to do with this success.

Sanchez doesn't emphasize the fact that the success of New Mexico's export business is only possible because of the government, like I do, but he could have, and should have, since he works for a Democrat who has to try to get programs through a Republican congress that bolsters any position it takes with an attack on government.

He could have said, to counter the relentless Republican attacks on government, that the boost to New Mexico's economy by government programs to help the export business is one of many small proofs that government can be a force for good.

If Sanchez had done a simple Google search, like I did, he'd know 13.7 percent of all manufacturing jobs in New Mexico rely on exports and that 1,008 New Mexico businesses export things. If he'd done another he'd know that 3,770 jobs rely on the export trade. If he'd done one more he'd know that that number of jobs would just about offset Sandia Labs closing down.

Martin Heinrich, Tom Udall and Michelle Grisham, who remain silent while Republicans and the Chamber of Commerce and The Albuquerque Journal all attack government, could have done a simple Google search, too, but they didn't. They, and the state and local Democratic Parties and every Democratic elected official, might have mentioned, and could have shown, that government has been the most effective collective response we've ever come up with to the problems that have faced us. They might have demonstrated it by way of telling about the startling success of a New Mexican export business that relies on the government to do what it does, but they didn't, unfortunately, for us, and for all the government programs under attack right now that help all of us get through life.







 .

Thursday, March 14, 2013


We have lost our best friend
Fidel Castro Ruiz

THE best friend the Cuban people have had throughout their history died on the afternoon of March 5. A call via satellite communicated the bitter news. The significance of the phrase used was unmistakable.





Although we were aware of the critical state of his health, the news hit us hard. I recalled the times he joked with me, saying that when both of us had concluded our revolutionary task, he would invite me to walk by the Arauca river in Venezuelan territory, which made him remember the rest that he never had.

The honor befell us to have shared with the Bolivarian leader the same ideas of social justice and support for the exploited. The poor are the poor in any part of the world.

"Let Venezuela give me a way of serving her: she has in me a son," proclaimed National Hero José Martí, the leader of our independence, a traveler who, without cleansing himself of the dust of the journey, asked for the location of the statue of Bolívar

Martí knew the beast because he lived in its entrails. Is it possible to ignore the profound words he voiced in an inconclusive letter to his friend Manuel Mercado the day before he died in battle? "…I am in daily danger of giving my life for my country and duty – for I understand that duty and have the intention of carrying it out – the duty of preventing the United States from extending through the Antilles as Cuba gains its independence, and from falling, with that additional strength, upon our lands of America. All that I have done thus far, and will do, is for this purpose. I have had to work silently and somewhat indirectly because, there are certain things which, in order to attain them, have to remain concealed…."




At that time, 66 years had passed since the Liberator Simón Bolívar wrote, "…the United States would seem to be destined by fate to plague the Americas with miseries in the name of freedom."

On January 23, 1959, 22 days after the revolutionary triumph in Cuba, I visited Venezuela to thank its people and the government which assumed power after the Pérez Jiménez dictatorship, for the dispatch of 150 rifles at the end of 1958. I said at that time:

"…Venezuela is the homeland of the Liberator, where the idea of the union of the peoples of America was conceived. Therefore, Venezuela must be the country to lead the union of the peoples of America; as Cubans, we support our brothers and sisters in Venezuela.

"I have spoken of these ideas not because I am moved by any kind of personal ambition, or even the ambition of glory, because, at the end of the day, ambitions of glory remain a vanity, and as Martí said, ‘All the glory of the world fits into a kernel of corn.’

"And so, upon coming here to talk in this way to the people of Venezuela, I do so thinking honorably and deeply, that if we want to save America, if we want to save the freedom of each one of our societies that, at the end of the day, are part of one great society, which is the society of Latin America; if it is that we want to save the revolution of Cuba, the revolution of Venezuela and the revolution of all the countries on our continent, we have to come closer to each other and we have to solidly support each other, because alone and divided, we will fail."

That is what I said on that day and today, 54 years later, I endorse it!

I must only include on that list the other nations of the world which, for more than half a century, have been victims of exploitation and plunder. That was the struggle of Hugo Chávez.

Not even he himself suspected how great he was.

¡Hasta la victoria siempre, unforgettable friend!


Fidel Castro Ruz
March 11, 2013
12:35 a.m
.





¡Hasta la victoria siempre translates to Ever onward to victory!

Reprinted from the English edition of Granma. Granma is the official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party. Its name comes from the 60 foot diesel powered cabin cruiser that carried Fidel Castro and 81 other rebels from Tuxpan, Mexico to La Playa, Cuba in 1956 launching the Cuban Revolution.

Fidel stepped down from active leadership of the Cuban Revolution in 2006 and over the next several years gradually delegated his other duties to others and now writes books and occasional commentaries for Granma.

Hugo Chavez was the elected president of Venezuela from 1999 until his death on March 5, 2013.






Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Connect The Dots




Someone posted this on Facebook but it's from a nifty little web site called Connect The Dots USA, which was started by self employed graphic artist Andrea Witte, who says on her "About" page that she got tired of her health insurance going up every year.

If you go to her site a series of graphics she's done like this scrolls past. These are great communication tools. I've long complained about how the Left and elected Democrats in particular have failed to keep up in communicating our message with our opponents, who have managed to whittle the philosophical underpinnings of their entire "You're on your own sucker" brand of Capitalism down to a few sound plausible sounding sound bites.









Monday, March 11, 2013

A Dangerous Situation









When they resurface highways now in New Mexico the initial layer of blacktop covers both shoulders, but the top layer just extends to the edge of the travel lanes. All of I-40 is like this now as are the newly redone sections of US 491.

It creates a dangerous situation, at least for trucks. If you happen to stray over the white line your tires catch on the drop-off and it jerks the truck toward the ditch. When you correct to get the truck back up over the drop-off it jerks you even more severley and causes the truck to want to fishtail.

When the roads are slick it's difficult to keep the truck going straight when this happens. Owing to the high rate of turnover in trucking, 100 percent per year is the traditional figure given, many of the drivers haven't experienced icy or snow covered roads, let alone having to contend with maneuvers like this. When there's snow covering the road you can't see the white line or the drop-off.



.
The Chavez Legacy

After reading my tribute yesterday to Hugo Chavez, I, Robot left a comment about being glad to see "a thorough listing of his accomplishments, something we're unlikely to see in the decidedly-*not*-liberal media."

Which started me thinking about "the Chavez legacy." What will it be? Will it matter? Enough for it to be contested? What will it mean to Capitalism? What will its significance be to the Left? To the American Left? To the future of Socialism?

The meaning of the Armenian Genocide, of the Nakba or the founding of Israel, the Russian Revolution, the Civil Rights struggle, the Womens Liberation struggle, are all in one way or the other still being contested. For people who identify with those struggles and are still involved in them, their meaning is important because it has to do with how they think about the struggle as it exists now and as they move it forward. The struggles, and especially the victories of the past also serve as inspiration. They play a large part in forming many of those peoples' individual identities, which impacts on their desire and ability to keep struggling.

Realizing how this all works, the decidedly not liberal media has tried to over the past few days to establish the Chavez legacy as decidedly negative, to bury his legacy with him.

I confess that until I'd read the comment by I, Robot, I hadn't paid much attention to what the "decidedly not liberal media" was saying about the death of Hugo Chavez. I don't spend a lot of time with the mainstream media. I keep track of it to see if anything significant is happening, I'll read some of the stories to get some factual details, but I look elsewhere to find out about their meaning, for the most part, if I don't know by applying my own somewhat formidable analytical tool.

And of course I've been hearing what the decidedly not liberal media has been saying about Chavez since the moment he came to prominence, and its the same things they said about Fidel Castro and Salvadore Allende, and Manual Zelaya and every other Latin American leader who had the gall to stand up to the racist Yankee empire and embark on a different course, to use government to help the people of the country and not as a force to keep opposition to the government in check often with the help of US trained death squads, not as a sledge hammer keep working people working for almost nothing for the benefit of the empire's corporate masters and the tiny minority of light skinned descendants of the Spanish colonial elite who serve as the empire's handmaids.

Those kinds of governments are all in the past and most of Latin America now has Left leaning if not outright Socialist governments that are improving the lives of the masses of people, and this is due, in no small part, to the struggles of Hugo Chavez. Latin America, with Chavez leading the way and with his direct assistance in many cases, has almost to a country gotten itself out from under the thumb of the American Empire.

And the US influence in el Sur has been steadily declining since Chavez took the lead in that regard. The OAS, for example, the Organization of American States, through which the US used to exert a lot of its influence, is useless to the US any more, as evidenced by its unanimous vote (except for the US) to invite Cuba to become a member last year. Even before that, the OAS had been replaced, for most practical purposes, by two organizations formed by the Latin American countries themselves, ALBA, (The Bolivarian Alliance For The People Of Our America) and Mercosur (Southern Common Market).

ALBA, started by Chavez and Fidel Castro, now includes 12 South American and Caribbean countries. It acts as a trade group and more importantly as a development bank, through which countries can forgo onerous Neoliberal-influenced World Bank and IMF loans, and their requirements that governments slash social services, cut pensions and sell off pubic assets.

Mercosur is a more commercially oriented trade group that also includes countries that still adhere to (US style) free market policies, but it nonetheless gives Latin American countries alternatives to US engineered trade agreements like NAFTA that have forced open South American markets to US based multinationals like Monsanto and Cargill and have had devastating affects on Latin American economies. Mercosur recently admitted Venezuela, which had been excluded from the group by US lap dog Paraguay, which, at the behest of the US, continually vetoed Venezuelan membership. The other members finally solved the problem by kicking Paraguay out and voting Venezuela in. El Gringo so there.

John Grant writes in the current Counterpunch that the meaning of the Vietnam War is still being debated. There are important reasons for that, both political and social. On a social, or mass psychological level, the US has not really admitted to itself what it did to the Vietnamese people, and as Taner Akcam says about the importance of getting out the truth about the Armenian Genocide, you can't say "never again" if it never happened in the first place, that is, if what happened is erased from history.

Millions of Latin Americans and millions of working class people worldwide know what Chavez did, but so do they know what the US did to the Vietnamese, and it didn't stop the US from destroying Afghanistan and Iraq and slaughtering hundreds of thousands of people.

America has never come to terms with what it did to the Vietnamese people because of steady stream of propaganda from the people who still think we were doing something honorable there. The American media can't erase Chavez from history, except in the US. If what Chavez actually has done is denied, covered up, kept out of the memory of the American public, there's that much less chance of anyone doing what he did here, which is the last thing the decidedly not liberal media, and the government of, by and for the rich it serves, want. 




Note: A couple of good articles have appeared that correct many of the distortions and falsehoods about Hugo Chavez being thrown around in the decidedly not liberal media:


Obituaries For Hugo Chavez, by Daniel Trompeter

 What Is Hugo Chavez' Legacy? by Jeffery R Webber



 .
 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Adiós, Amigo
Sweet Dreams


When Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died this week at 58 I certainly wanted to put in my two cents worth.

 
Hugo Chavez, Simon Bolivar - 2007 - Hosseini photo
The media would take the opportunity to repeat what it's been repeating about him since 1998; the Venezuelan economy is in shambles, there's double digit inflation and crime is rampant. They'll say one more time that Chavez was a strongman, a dictator, despite the fact that he was elected over and over again by wide margins in elections the Carter Center called the most transparent they've ever observed. They'll say he suppressed the opposition and stifled dissent, despite the fact that except for one small public station the media in Venezuela is all privately owned, by an oligarchy that hates Chavez and was free to issue daily diatribes against him, which it did. They'll ignore the fact that Chavez has cut inflation in half. They'll let you think that all of Venezuela's problems started yesterday.

Having long been a Chavista, knowing quite well the many things he did to improve the lives of the common people in Venezuela -- the thousands of clinics he built, the free universal health care, the vast increases in access to education, the eradication of illiteracy, the thousands of houses for the poor and on and on and on -- my impulse was to proclaim that despite the final, gloating attacks on Chavez you'll see in the media, especially the ones that point out the problems in this former colony that remain from when it was ruled by a tiny oligarchy who blithely left the masses to starve and left problems to fester, these things that Chavez did, these many, many things, although they will be ignored and discounted, are not in dispute. He did cut poverty in half. He did bring all those doctors from Cuba. He did prove that a nation's wealth, Venezuela's oil wealth, really can be wrestled from the hands of the greedy few and used to benefit the many. I wanted to say all that but didn't.

It's depressing to see someone like Chavez go. It introduces uncertainty. Who will take his place? Will what he accomplished be reversed? It's depressing and frustrating knowing that my two cents worth isn't worth much against the media and peoples' immense lack of knowledge and their biases against Socialism, and against people from that part of the world especially when they have tightly curled hair and look like they might have some, oh no, African blood in their veins.

I'm saddened by the death of Hugo Chavez. I'm in no mood to argue, but it's also that I don't think I have to defend Chavez. I'm satisfied that what he accomplished will remain, that he did what he set out to do, and what I hoped he would do, and that is to prove that there really is an alternative to American style, you're on your own, Capitalism. I might not convince anybody that he did that, but the record of what he did is there, and will remain, undiminished, next to that of the Castros in Cuba and Allende in Chile and Morales in Bolivia. Even now it lives in the minds and hearts of millions of common people in Venezuela and around the world.

You can argue that Chavez did it top down. Authoritarian style. You'd be partially and technically accurate, but you can just as easily say that he saw an opening and he took it. He used the power he had, not to benefit himself or the rich or imperialism, but the common people. He also instituted thousands of neighborhood councils where people are making their own decisions about what to do with the resources their elected government controls. He got things moving in the right direction. What else would you have had him do? What else could he do?

I will list, of course, for the record, the following list of 50 of Hugo Chavez' accomplishments that Venezuela Analysis translated and reprinted from the Spanish language publication Opera Mundi, and I'll reproduce some of the photographs of the procession of Chavistas who accompanied Chavez' body through Caracas.

I'll leave it up to history to set the record straight about Hugo Chavez, and I'll leave it up to those little Chavistas, who came out with their parents to celebrate the life of a great man, to finish the job of making his, and my, and all of our dreams of a better world come true.


 (Photos and content Opera Mundi)




1. Never in the history of Latin America, has a political leader had such incontestable democratic legitimacy. Since coming to power in 1999, there were 16 elections in Venezuela. Hugo Chavez won 15, the last on October 7, 2012. He defeated his rivals with a margin of 10-20 percentage points.
2. All international bodies, from the European Union to the Organization of American States, to the Union of South American Nations and the Carter Center, were unanimous in recognizing the transparency of the vote counts.
 3. James Carter, former U.S. President, declared that Venezuela's electoral system was "the best in the world."
4. Universal access to education introduced in 1998 had exceptional results. About 1.5 million Venezuelans learned to read and write thanks to the literacy campaign called Mission Robinson I.
5. In December 2005, UNESCO said that Venezuela had eradicated illiteracy.
6. The number of children attending school increased from 6 million in 1998 to 13 million in 2011 and the enrollment rate is now 93.2%.
 7. Mission Robinson II was launched to bring the entire population up to secondary level. Thus, the rate of secondary school enrollment rose from 53.6% in 2000 to 73.3% in 2011.
8. Missions Ribas and Sucre allowed tens of thousands of young adults to undertake university studies. Thus, the number of tertiary students increased from 895,000 in 2000 to 2.3 million in 2011, assisted by the creation of new universities.
9. With regard to health, they created the National Public System to ensure free access to health care for all Venezuelans. Between 2005 and 2012, 7873 new medical centers were created in Venezuela.
10. The number of doctors increased from 20 per 100,000 population in 1999 to 80 per 100,000 in 2010, or an increase of 400%.
11. Mission Barrio Adentro I provided 534 million medical consultations. About 17 million people were attended, while in 1998 less than 3 million people had regular access to health. 1.7 million lives were saved, between 2003 and 2011.
12. The infant mortality rate fell from 19.1 per thousand in 1999 to 10 per thousand in 2012, a reduction of 49%.





13. Average life expectancy increased from 72.2 years in 1999 to 74.3 years in 2011.
14. Thanks to Operation Miracle, launched in 2004, 1.5 million Venezuelans who were victims of cataracts or other eye diseases, regained their sight.
15. From 1999 to 2011, the poverty rate decreased from 42.8% to 26.5% and the rate of extreme poverty fell from 16.6% in 1999 to 7% in 2011.
16. In the rankings of the Human Development Index (HDI) of the United Nations Program for Development (UNDP), Venezuela jumped from 83 in 2000 (0.656) at position 73 in 2011 (0.735), and entered into the category Nations with 'High HDI'.
17. The GINI coefficient, which allows calculation of inequality in a country, fell from 0.46 in 1999 to 0.39 in 2011.
18. According to the UNDP, Venezuela holds the lowest recorded Gini coefficient in Latin America, that is, Venezuela is the country in the region with the least inequality.
19. Child malnutrition was reduced by 40% since 1999.
20. In 1999, 82% of the population had access to safe drinking water. Now it is 95%.
21. Under President Chavez social expenditures increased by 60.6%.
22. Before 1999, only 387,000 elderly people received a pension. Now the figure is 2.1 million.
23. Since 1999, 700,000 homes have been built in Venezuela.
24. Since 1999, the government provided / returned more than one million hectares of land to Aboriginal people.



 25. Land reform enabled tens of thousands of farmers to own their land. In total, Venezuela distributed more than 3 million hectares.

26. In 1999, Venezuela was producing 51% of food consumed. In 2012, production was 71%, while food consumption increased by 81% since 1999. If consumption of 2012 was similar to that of 1999, Venezuela produced 140% of the food it consumed.
27. Since 1999, the average calories consumed by Venezuelans increased by 50% thanks to the Food Mission that created a chain of 22,000 food stores (MERCAL, Houses Food, Red PDVAL), where products are subsidized up to 30%. Meat consumption increased by 75% since 1999.
28. Five million children now receive free meals through the School Feeding Programme. The figure was 250,000 in 1999.
29. The malnutrition rate fell from 21% in 1998 to less than 3% in 2012.
30. According to the FAO, Venezuela is the most advanced country in Latin America and the Caribbean in the eradication of hunger.
31. The nationalization of the oil company PDVSA in 2003 allowed Venezuela to regain its energy sovereignty.
32. The nationalization of the electrical and telecommunications sectors (CANTV and Electricidad de Caracas) allowed the end of private monopolies and guaranteed universal access to these services.
33. Since 1999, more than 50,000 cooperatives have been created in all sectors of the economy.
34. The unemployment rate fell from 15.2% in 1998 to 6.4% in 2012, with the creation of more than 4 million jobs.
35. The minimum wage increased from 100 bolivars ($ 16) in 1998 to 247.52 bolivars ($ 330) in 2012, i.e., an increase of over 2,000%. This is the highest minimum wage in Latin America.
36. In 1999, 65% of the workforce earned the minimum wage. In 2012 only 21.1% of workers have only this level of pay.





37. Adults at a certain age who have never worked still get an income equivalent to 60% of the minimum wage.
38. Women without income and disabled people receive a pension equivalent to 80% of the minimum wage.
39. Working hours were reduced to 6 hours a day and 36 hours per week, without loss of pay.
40. Public debt fell from 45% of GDP in 1998 to 20% in 2011. Venezuela withdrew from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, after early repayment of all its debts.
41. In 2012, the growth rate was 5.5% in Venezuela, one of the highest in the world.
42. GDP per capita rose from $ 4,100 in 1999 to $ 10,810 in 2011.




43. According to the annual World Happiness 2012, Venezuela is the second happiest country in Latin America, behind Costa Rica, and the nineteenth worldwide, ahead of Germany and Spain.
44. Venezuela offers more direct support to the American continent than the United States. In 2007, Chávez spent more than 8,800 million dollars in grants, loans and energy aid as against 3,000 million from the Bush administration.
45. For the first time in its history, Venezuela has its own satellites (Bolivar and Miranda) and is now sovereign in the field of space technology. The entire country has internet and telecommunications coverage.
46. The creation of Petrocaribe in 2005 allows 18 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, or 90 million people, secure energy supply, by oil subsidies of between 40% to 60%.
47. Venezuela also provides assistance to disadvantaged communities in the United States by providing fuel at subsidized rates.
48. The creation of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) in 2004 between Cuba and Venezuela laid the foundations of an inclusive alliance based on cooperation and reciprocity. It now comprises eight member countries which places the human being in the center of the social project, with the aim of combating poverty and social exclusion.
49. Hugo Chavez was at the heart of the creation in 2011 of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) which brings together for the first time the 33 nations of the region, emancipated from the tutelage of the United States and Canada.
50. Hugo Chavez played a key role in the peace process in Colombia. According to President Juan Manuel Santos, "if we go into a solid peace project, with clear and concrete progress, progress achieved ever before with the FARC, is also due to the dedication and commitment of Chavez and the government of Venezuela."








.