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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Venezuela: A few numbers
Oliver Laufer (link in Spanish; my translation. I added in brackets the name of the agency providing the statistics) lists a few facts on Venezuela:
  • Crime has increased by 10.2% since Chávez took power [The numbers are based on figures from the Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas de Venezuela (INE)]
  • Extreme poverty has increased from 16,6% to 25% during the same period. [The numbers are based on figures from the Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas de Venezuela (INE)]
  • Currency devaluation has tripled since Chávez's arrival. In spite of an increase, the minimum salary is only 115€, but the basic needs amount comes to 126€.
  • Unemployment totals 24,7% while in 1998 it was 11%. [Numbers from an Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT) report]
  • Homicides have increased by 142% since Chávez's arrival. Every hour 3.1 persons are killed in Caracas. Every year, 12,000. Close to 70,000 have been murdered since Chávez took power.
  • Kidnappings have increased by 150%; compare 57 kidnappings in 1998 to 296 in 2003. Vehicular thefts have gone up from 14,424 in 1998 to 36,033 in 2003.
  • In total, the political police and the military police have killed extrajudicially 6,127 innocent people. 3,244 regional police, 1,185 CICPC, 634 municipal police and 132 military police are under investigation due to homicides and extrajudicial shootings.
Oliver reports that he's in Venezuela and just read the following newspaper headline: Chávez baraja la hipótesis de prohibir los partidos políticos que fomenten la abstención: Chávez toys with the idea of forbidding opposition political parties from abstaining.

Ponder these numbers, in addition to the numbers I had already mentioned, the next time you read anything about how Chavez is a-charismatic-leader-helping-the-poor-offering-free-health-care-education-adult-literacy-and-job-training-initiatives-that-help-millions-of-Venezuelans.

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