Five years have passed since Venezuela began its “social missions,” state-funded social programs across diverse areas of human development such as education, medicine, nutrition, and culture.
They began in 2003, when the government sought to revolutionize the country’s old social service institutions and reach out to communities all over the country in an aggressive program to redistribute wealth. For too long, citizens had failed to benefit from oil profits.
Venezuela’s social missions are still new, but research on their impact indicates that they contributed to a 9.9% decrease in the poverty rate since 2003.
The stories of people whose lives have been improved by the missions are the best testament to their success. A low-income woman who received a university scholarship from “Mision Sucre,” said: “for so many years I was an excluded person, from education and so on, and four years later I’m a licensed teacher… [this] has caused a change, not just for me but for my family as well. We won’t be passive people, but protagonists in this process.”
Today, Venezuela has 25 “social missions,” some of which have even expanded abroad, such as “Mision Miracle,” which gives free eye surgeries to correct blindness due to cataracts. One of the newest is “Mision Jose Gregorio Hernandez,” which provides disabled people with medical attention and free equipment such as wheelchairs, prostheses, and special beds. To read more about all of the different missions and see statistics on their impact, click here.