Thursday, March 4, 2010
Last week the the Organization of American States' Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) released a scathing report on the supposedly grim state of democracy and human rights in Venezuela. Buried in the 300-plus page report, in between page after page of criticisms towards the government, the IACHR admits that the Chavez' administration has made remarkable progress on the socioeconomic front, promoting literacy, reducing poverty and lowering inequality, among other things. Here's the excerpt:
"On the other hand, in this report the Commission highlights the Venezuelan State’s major achievements in the fields of economic, social, and cultural rights, through legally recognizing the enforceability of the rights to education, to health, to housing, to universal social security, and other rights, as well as by implementing policies and measures aimed at remedying the shortcomings that affect vast sectors of the Venezuelan population. The Commission emphasizes that the State has succeeded in ensuring the majority of its population is literate, reducing poverty and extreme poverty, expanding health coverage among the most vulnerable sectors, reducing unemployment, reducing the infant mortality rate, and increasing the Venezuelan people’s access to basic public services.
The IACHR also congratulates Venezuela on being one of the countries that has made most progress toward attaining the Millennium Development Goals. It has also brought about a major reduction in the disparity between the groups at the extremes of income distribution, to the point that the country now reports the lowest Gini coefficient in Latin America, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). In addition, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Venezuela moved from having a medium level of human development in 2008 to join the group of countries with a high level of human development in 2009. In the IACHR’s opinion, the priority the State has given to economic, social, and cultural rights is fundamental in ensuring the decent existence of the population and is an important foundation for the maintenance of democratic stability."
Now, everything in this report should by no means be taken seriously, but this admission on the part of an institution that in the past has been largely hostile to the Chavez government underscores how difficult it is to deny the recent social gains in Venezuela. A grain of truth, as they say.