|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Press Conference by Venezuela on Millennium Development Goals
Venezuela had met its development goals and was at the forefront of erasing inequality and extreme poverty, thanks to promotion of an alternative development model, Jorge Valero Briceño, Venezuela’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said this afternoon during a Headquarters news conference.
“Under the leadership of President Hugo Chávez Frías, Venezuela has met most of the Millennium Development Goals,” he said.
Worldwide, the millennium targets were under serious threat due to the global economic and financial crisis spurred by a capitalist model that had brought growing inequality, poverty and injustice, he said. But in Venezuela, the economic situation was promising.
Extreme poverty in the country had plummeted from 29.8 per cent in 2003 to 7.2 per cent in 2009, while the overall poverty index fell from 49 per cent in 1998 to 24.2 per cent by the end of 2009, he said.
Venezuela had also earned kudos from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which, in 2005, had declared it free of illiteracy and recently put it among the top five countries in terms of access to university education, he said.
The Chavez Administration was now working to ensure universal access to all basic human rights, notably the rights to health, food and employment.
But enemies of the Bolivarian revolution had not ended their attempts to overthrow the Government and regain power, he said. They could not, however, squash the Venezuelan people’s sense of optimism and faith in the socialist Bolivarian movement, which had changed the course of history.
On 26 September, the country would hold its fifth democratic election during the Chavez Administration, he said. In fact, 50 democratic elections had been held in the past 10 years, the largest number of any country.
Asked about Venezuela’s input into the draft outcome document of this week’s Millennium Development Goals summit at Headquarters, he said it participated in negotiations and, as part of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, had pushed for the text to refer to the need to restore the role of the State in public administration and to create economic and financial structures, such as regional banks, as an alternative to the Bretton Woods institutions, which were largely to blame for the global economic crisis.
Furthermore, Venezuela severely objected to efforts to omit references to the serious nature of the crisis, he said. “We wanted this document to recognize that the crisis is continuing and that the predictions that state this crisis has been overcome are wrong. On the contrary, this crisis is still ongoing.”
Regarding the prospect of Colombia becoming a non-permanent member of the Security Council, he said President Chavez was considering the matter. Venezuela had restored relations with Colombia, and the two countries were making progress on a shared agenda.
Asked about the “non-democratic measures” at work in Venezuela, he said segments of the political opposition still sought to unseat President Chavez through such measures. Venezuela had a transparent, modern electoral system, he said, expressing hope that the upcoming election results would be duly recognized and respected by all.
* *** *For information media • not an official record