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Venezuela: Chronology of Washington's 4th Generation War Against Venezuela

By Eva Golinger

The US government is waging war on Venezuela -- not your typical, traditional war, but a modern, asymmetric - 4th Generation War -- against President Hugo Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolution. Below is a presentation I created regarding the pattern and escalation of US government aggression against Venezuela, with clear quotes and citations as evidence to back up this claim.

Eva Golinger's Postcard from the Revolution website is at http://www.chavezcode.com/

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CEPR Paper Responds to /Foreign Affairs/ on Venezuela

CEPR Paper Responds to /Foreign Affairs/ on Venezuela

*For Immediate Release*: March 21, 2008
*Contact*: Dan Beeton, 202-293-5380 x104

Washington, D.C. - - A new paper from the Center for Economic and Policy
Research responds to a recent article by Francisco Rodriguez in the
March/April 2008 issue of Foreign Affairs that argued that Venezuela's
poor have not benefited from the government of President Hugo Chávez.

In the five years since the Venezuelan government has gotten control
over its national oil company, the economy (real GDP) has grown more
than 87 percent, poverty has been cut in half, and unemployment by more
than half," said Mark Weisbrot
<http://www.cepr.net/content/view/81/81/>, CEPR Co-Director and author
of the paper, "An Empty Research Agenda: The Creation of Myths About
Contemporary Venezuela
<http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/venezuela_research_2008_03.pdf>."

"Real social spending per person has increased by more than 300 percent,
and the government has expanded access to health care, subsidized food,
and education. Under these conditions, it would indeed be remarkable if
the living standards of the poor had not improved substantially," he added.

The paper looks at various claims in the Foreign Affairs article by
Francisco Rodriguez:

   * Rodriguez claims that inequality, as measured by the Gini
     coefficient has worsened during the Chavez years.

This is wrong. The only consistent measure of the Gini coefficient (see
Table 1
<http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/venezuela_research_2008_03.pdf>)
shows a substantial decline from 48.7 in 1998, or alternatively from
48.1 in 2003, to 42 in 2007.  For a rough idea of the size of this
reduction in inequality, compare this to a similar movement in the other
direction: from 1980-2005, the Gini coefficient for the United States
went from 40.3 to 46.9, a period in which there was an enormous (upward)
redistribution of income.

   * Rodriguez claims that Venezuela's poverty reduction during the
     current economic expansion - it has been cut by half, from 55.1
     percent (2003) of households to 27.5 percent (first half of 2007)
     - compares unfavorably with other countries.

His argument is that other countries have reduced poverty by "around two
percentage points" for every percentage point increase in per capita
GDP. However, this is clearly wrong. If it were true, Venezuela would
have to have eliminated poverty completely - 100 percent poverty
reduction - to meet Rodriguez's description of "many other countries."

   * Rodriguez: "Remarkably, given Chávez's rhetoric and reputation,
     official figures show no significant change in the priority given
     to social spending during his administration."

In fact, real (inflation-adjusted) social spending per capita in
Venezuela increased by 314 percent from 1998-2006.

   * Rodriguez states that Venezuela's import growth "is now
     threatening to erase the nation's current account surplus."

But in fact the current account surplus is still very large, at more
than 8 percent of GDP. (For comparison, imagine the U.S. with an annual
current account surplus of more than $1.1 trillion instead of its
present deficit of $739 billion.)

   * Rodriguez: "In a battery of statistical tests, we found little
     evidence that the [government's national literacy] program had had
     any statistically distinguishable effect on Venezuelan illiteracy."

These statistical results were not robust and appeared to be based on an
artifact of the specifications used. Much more importantly, the
household survey data on which they were based was not designed to
measure literacy, and could easily fail to pick up significant
improvements in literacy among large sectors of the population.

   * Rodriguez also selects certain statistics on low birth weight
     babies, homes with dirt floors, and running water in an attempt to
     argue that the living standards of the poor have deteriorated
     during Venezuela's extraordinarily rapid expansion.

On closer examination, these selected statistics run counter to other
trends and do not indicate a deterioration of the living standards of
the poor, who by most measures have experienced large gains.

####

/The Center for Economic and Policy Research is an independent,
nonpartisan think tank that was established to promote democratic debate
on the most important economic and social issues that affect people's
lives. CEPR's Advisory Board of Economists includes Nobel Laureate
economists Robert Solow and Joseph Stiglitz; Richard Freeman, Professor
of Economics at Harvard University; and Eileen Appelbaum, Professor and
Director of the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers University. CEPR
does not receive any funding from corporations, unions, or foreign
governments./

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