Venezuela's rate of extreme poverty has continued to decline despite what the government has described as an “economic war” by right-wing opposition-aligned business sectors.
TeleSUR English said on January 17 that the latest official figures showed about 4.78% of Venezuelans now live in extreme poverty. That figure is slightly lower than those reported in November, which put the extreme poverty rate at 4.9%.
When Venezuela's socialist government first came to power in 1998, 21% of Venezuelan households suffered extreme poverty.
Venezuela's socialist President Nicolas Maduro said the latest figures illustrated his government has prioritised the welfare of Venezuela's poorest, despite an economic downturn. “Socialism is the only model that can move us through these difficult times — not neoliberalism!” Maduro said.
The poverty data was released two days after the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) released new economic figures showing what it said was the impact of an “economic war” aimed at destabilising the country. The data also shows the country's GDP contracted by 4.5% in the first nine months of the year, with a 7.1% drop in GDP in the third quarter from the previous year.