Five years ago the FAO agreed to appoint “Hugo Chávez” to its Plan to Eradicate Hunger and Poverty
Venezuela, in constant struggle to eradicate inequality, since the Bolivarian Revolution began, has been recognized worldwide by various organizations, such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which valued the advances of the South American country in the fight against hunger.
In 2012, the nation received the agency’s first recognition for reducing hunger and extreme poverty by more than 50%. The years 2013, 2014 and 2015, also received distinctions in the matter.
In a joint report by FAO and PAHO, called the Panorama of Food and Nutrition Security in Latin America and the Caribbean, both organizations called on nations to take actions to the eradication of hunger and malnutrition in all its forms.
According to the latest figures from the FAO (2014-16), 34.3 million people suffer from hunger, equivalent to 5.5% of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean. This represents a significant reduction since 1990-92, when hunger affected 14.7% of the population.
South America has managed to reduce hunger to levels below 5%, from 15.1% in 1990-92; Central America, in the same period, managed to reduce hunger from 10.7% to 6.6%; and hunger in the Caribbean fell from 27% to 19.8%.
However, FAO and PAHO indicate that not all countries in the region are moving at the same pace. Nine countries in the region have reduced their undernourishment levels to less than 5%: Argentina, Barbados, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, Uruguay and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
Eleven nations achieved the goal of the Millennium Development Goals, reducing their prevalence of undernourishment to less than half of the 1990-92 levels: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Guyana, Nicaragua, Peru, Dominican Republic, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Uruguay and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
For both multilateral organizations the reason for the reduction of hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean ins found “in the economic growth of the region, especially during the 2000s, which brought with it important increases in household income, reducing poverty and improving the fiscal capacity for the implementation of social public policies”.
In that sense, Venezuela has been an example for the world to be one of the countries that in the last 20 years has devoted more of its national budget to social investment, despite being subjected in the last triennium to an unconventional war that has distorted the economy, generating scarcity and inflation to affect the production and distribution of food and basic products.
On April 7, 2014, it was precisely the FAO which baptizes with the name of “Hugo Chávez” the Plan of Action for the Eradication of Hunger and Poverty, which the organism advances.
Marcelo Resende, representative of the FAO in Venezuela, said that Hugo Chávez was a very wise man when he stated that “hunger is not a technical problem, nor a product of marketing, but a political problem, product of social inequality in the world, therefore, combating hunger must be complemented by public policies”.
He also said that naming the Plan for Eradication “is a just homage to the Eternal President for his great leadership and social commitment, both for his people and for the peoples of America”.
The objective of the program is to guarantee the human right to food and strengthen food security. It is addressed to the nations that are part of the mechanisms of regional integration Petrocaribe and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-Treaty of Commerce of the Peoples (ALBA-TCP).
That year it was established that the member countries must contribute a percentage of the resources saved in the solidary trade of hydrocarbons to be allocated to agri-food projects that guarantee the good nutrition of their peoples.
Revolutionary economic policy
The fight to reduce hunger has been one of the fundamental goals of the Bolivarian Revolution, which has been conquered in stages. It is translated into an initiative promoted and initially proposed by Commander Hugo Chávez and that President Maduro has been accentuating.
In May 2014, during his participation in the 33rd FAO Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean, held in Santiago de Chile, the then Vice President for the Social Area of Venezuela, Héctor Rodríguez, highlighted that 14 million people managed to leave hunger in Latin America in the last 10 years, thanks to the social policies applied in these countries.
“The sustained increase in social investment in Venezuela is the result of a revolutionary economic policy that raised the rescue and control of our strategic natural resources, as is the case of oil”, he said.
At that time, he stressed that in the last 15 years Venezuela has had a tax revenue of 972,564 million dollars, of which 64% has been allocated to social investment.
On the food issue, Venezuela is a reference. Food distribution points, which work through initiatives such as the Food Houses, the School Feeding Program (PAE), and the Food Markets (Mercal), the Venezuelan Food Producer and Distributor (Pdval) and Bicentennial Supplies, they stand out among the first experiences to help eradicate hunger.
Also, the delivery of land to peasants, being this a very important issue for the eradication of hunger and poverty, as well as credits and distribution chains; and also the existing chains in Latin America and the Caribbean, through agreements with nations such as the Islamic Republic of Iran, the People’s Republic of China, Belarus and Russia, for the production of food, are added to the mechanisms promoted by the Bolivarian Revolution.
The Food Mission, an universal program of distribution, supply and sale of subsidized products, created by Chávez in 2003, has also been crucial for the eradication of hunger.
In order to attend to the families that were victims of speculation and hoarding by the private sector, in March 2016, the President of the Republic, Nicolás Maduro, promoted another initiative, the Local Supply and Production Committees (CLAP), which are in charge of distribution of basic necessities directly to households.
To date, more than 6 million families receive their food, through the CLAP.
Although in recent years Venezuela has been subjected to a financial, economic and commercial blockade, illegally imposed by the US government, which harms the essential rights of the people, the Government of President Nicolás Maduro is concerned on improving the food system of the country.
Because of economic sanctions, payments have been withheld to Venezuela and access to vital supplies has been restricted, as is the case of medicines and food.
Even so, different spokespersons of the National Government have assured that no blockade or aggression will reverse the diversified socialist productive model, which will transcend the oil rent.
The Homeland’s model of native production based on the development and production taken from the liberating knowledge that allows the possibility of recognizing the culture, the ancestral techniques of production, preservation of nature and its natural resources and work together, implementing the Venezuelan scheme with the intention of developing the country’s economy.