Four years ago this month, a former bus driver with humble working-class origins became the president of Venezuela.
Promising to continue the revolutionary legacy of deceased former president Hugo Chavez, Nicolas Maduro pledged to advance the living standards of Venezuela’s poor and oppressed.
But since taking office in 2013, Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution his government leads have faced non-stop attacks from Venezuela’s US-backed right-wing opposition, making advancements difficult.
Improving upon destabilisation tactics used during Chavez’s administration, the opposition seems to have perfected the art of sabotage.
For years, the opposition has used violent protests, fake news, currency manipulation, food hoarding and calls for international intervention to undermine the Bolivarian Revolution.
Mainstream media, falsely portraying the opposition as a peace-loving democratic movement, has used textbook examples of psychological projection to create a false narrative about Venezuela.
Corporate news outlets unilaterally hold the socialist government responsible for crimes committed by anti-government forces. The mainstream media also ignores social accomplishments achieved by Maduro’s administration in an attempt to make him seem “unfit to rule”.
Despite right-wing sabotage, Maduro’s government has lived up to its promise to continue improving living conditions for Venezuela’s poor and oppressed. Here are four major gains made in Venezuela by Maduro’s government that mainstream media won’t tell you about.
Since his first day in office, Maduro has prioritised improving Venezuela’s free public healthcare system.
Under his administration, Venezuela expanded its free health care coverage to more than 60% of the population, according to the country’s Ministry of People's Power for Health. The Venezuelan president has also made free health care available to people in historically impoverished departments like Amazonas, Bolivar and Delta Amacuro.
In March, Maduro’s government announced a decree that raised salaries for all doctors working in the public health sector by 50%.
The results of his investments in public healthcare are undeniable.
Earlier this year, the United Nations Program for Development placed Venezuela among the countries with the highest Human Development Index, surpassing most Latin American countries. Since 2013, Venezuela has also cut infant mortality rates, heart disease and HIV/AIDS rates, according to the World Health Organisation.
Public housing for all Venezuelans has also been a mantra of Maduro’s administration.
In January, he announced that his government reached its goal of delivering 1.4 million homes to Venezuelans across the country. The public housing program is either free or low-cost, depending on the family’s means.
The project aimed to involve Venezuelans in the process as much as possible, with homeowners responsible for 60% of town planning.
A month beforehand, Maduro announced plans to internationalise Venezuela’s public housing program to create homes for hurricane victims from Cuba and Haiti.
Since January, the Housing and Habitat Ministry has constructed thousands more public housing units in remote regions across the country.
Venezuela has the second-lowest rate of homelessness in Latin America, with only 6.68% of its population being unhoused, Habitat for Humanity reported.
Maduro, who actively supported Venezuela’s student movement against neoliberalism during the 1980s, has made important strides in public education since coming to power.
He has significantly grown the country’s Canaima program, a computer literacy and technology education campaign established by Chavez in 2009.
Maduro’s administration has provided more than 4.8 million computers and more than 100 million technology textbooks to students across the country.
Despite the country's economic difficulties over the past three years, more than 20,000 schools have received new computer equipment.
Maduro has also pumped millions into free transportation, music, art, sports and culture programs in schools across the country.
Maduro’s progressive education policies have led to Venezuela being ranked sixth in the world in terms of enrolment in primary education. Venezuela has increased its coverage of secondary education to 73% of the population.
Maduro’s policies have also made Venezuela a country with the highest literacy rates in Latin America, with 95.4% of the population knowing how to read and write, the UN reported.
4. Civil Rights
Maduro has also made tremendous advancements in improving the representation and civil rights of historically oppressed sectors of Venezuelan society, like women, Afro-Indigenous people and the LGBTQ community.
Since 2013, Maduro has boosted funds for the Venezuelan Ministry for Women and Gender Equality, which provides resources such as child care, medical attention, job training and political education.
In 2014, he appointed Delcy Rodriguez, a politician and active member of Venezuela’s feminist movement, to head the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Along with elevating members of Venezuela’s Black and indigenous-descendant communities to important political positions, he has also created institutions such as the Centre of African Knowledge and the Ministry of Popular Power for Indigenous Peoples.
Maduro’s administration has also improved rights for LGBTQ people. Last year, Venezuela’s Supreme Court declared that the state will provide protection without distinction to all families, including children born into same-sex families.
In the same year, Venezuela’s Public Ministry announced that transgender people may request a new identity card according to their gender identity.
Although many improvements for women, Afro-Indigenous people and the LGBTQ community remain to be carried out, Maduro’s improvement of civil rights in the country is undeniable.
[Abridged from TeleSUR English.]