Sunday, 10 March 2013
If it is the head of his Bowling Club or the manager of the local football team, if the people who use the facilities are in a better position now than when they took over, he is a success.
When it comes to politicians he applies the same criteria, are the citizens of the country better off for having this particular person running things, if so then he can be deemed a success.
This brings me to the passing of Hugo Chavez, the President of Venezuela who died last week.
Between the time of his election in 1998 and his death in 2013, has the lot of the people he ruled over improved?
Under Chavez, Venezuelans’ quality of life improved according to the UN Index and the poverty rate fell from 54% when he took office to 29% in 2011 according to the U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America.
Using income derived from oil, minimum wages were increased sharply and Chavas created 'missions',
dedicated to improving access to health, education, social security, food and farming land for the poorest sectors of his society. Over 1 million Venezuelans now participate in free adult literacy classes, leading to Venezuela eradicating illiteracy by UN standards. Malnutrition related deaths fell by 50% during the Chavas Presidency but it wasn't just his own country that benefited from Chavas taking control of his own countries resources, he set up deals with his neighbours under a bartering scheme called Petrocaribe where cheap oil was provided in exchange for free medical care and subsidised food for the poor. Cuba received 90,000 barrels of oil a day in exchange for 40,000 Cuban medics and teachers.
Don't expect those who ignore what Chavez achieved during his time in power to applaud these impressive achievements but the rest of us can agree that he set about solving the problems of the most vulnerable in his society.
In 14 years he brought hope to millions of those who, without him, would have had nothing but more of the grinding poverty and despair of the previous Governments so at the end of his time, apllying my fathers crietria, was the lot of the people he ruled over improved?
I wonder just how willfully ignorant or ignorantly blind you have to be to claim it was anything but improved.
Well done Hugo, a life well lived.