We were sent this contribution from Munno Bhai, a very well known left wing journalist and TV director in Pakistan. The article is on the economic growth rates in Venezuela. It is one of his daily columns published on September 23 in the daily Urdu newspaper, the Jang with a readership of nearly 20 million people.
I apologize that once again my column is full of statistics but I think these would be interesting to readers. It is being said that on an international level growth in annual GDP is not more then 4.3%. It is also said that America is the biggest economy in the world and that among the Asian countries Pakistan has the highest GDP growth after China and Singapore. Pakistan’s GDP growth is greater than India’s who claims that it is only five years behind China. But what is not said or perhaps there is a reluctance to say it, is that at present the country with highest GDP growth is Venezuela, the country of Hugo Chavez, that is progressing with a GDP rate of growth of 17.3%.
Underneath the Superpower and at the top of Latin America, Venezuela is a country that is trying to adopt socialist measures fifteen years after the collapse of the Soviet Union and which has got this, the highest GDP growth rate, by using the prescription of “Nationalization” rather than “Privatization”. Due to this it is frightening the US, World Bank, IMF and other imperialist institutions.
Besides attaining this historical growth in GDP, last year this country educated 1.4 million of its illiterate people. Three million people who could never think about getting educated due to poverty are now part of the education system. The health facilities have been extended to 70% of the population and these facilities are free of cost and compulsory. These facilities have been made available after giving a free oil supply to Cuba and in return Venezuela is getting the services of thousands of doctors and nurses. To bring people above the poverty line, give them self-confidence and control the prices of basic goods, 1.7 million tons of food is being provided to 12 million people free of cost. This is the same capital that before Chavez, was in the hands of the ruling classes and capitalists and was kept safe in the US banks.
Venezuela is the oil producing country of Latin America and oil forms 80% of its exports but the figures released by the Central Bank of Venezuela reveal that the growth in annual GDP does not depend on the export of oil. In the year 2004 the growth rate of the oil sector was little more than 8.5 % but the sectors other than oil showed tremendous growth of 32% which itself is a miracle. The rate of growth for financial institutions and the insurance sector is more than 26.5%, transport and related sector is 25%, mining sector 11.5%, more than 10% in the communication sector and almost 7% in the water and power sectors. The rate of growth in the private sector is 11.5% while it is 11% in the public sector.
The surplus foreign currency account of Venezuela had less than 11 billion dollars in 2003 which is now almost 14.75 billion dollars. The reason given for this stunning progress is that during the last seven years president Hugo Chavez has gone through five general elections and referendums due to which the affection of the masses for the president has grown. At present the support for President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela has grown to more than 80%. Instead of decreasing this ratio is increasing.
September 23, 2005