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Sunny Economic Outlook in Venezuela

Interesting tidbits from a discussion of Venezuela's prospects for business and industry at the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC.

A recent report by Latinobarómetro, a non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Santiago de Chile, reveals Venezuelan confidence in their government. The group interviewed 20,000 people in 18 Latin American countries, revealing that:

· 78% of Venezuelans interviewed believe that democracy is the only form of government for a fully developed society.

· Venezuelans gave the highest score out of all Latin American countries, 7.6 out of 10, indicating they believe their country to be very democratic.

· 56% of Venezuelans are very satisfied with their democracy (2nd highest, under Uruguay)

One major point that kept coming up during the discussion—since Chavez, many economic indicators have improved. For example, with the recent improvement of the tax system initiated by Chavez, revenues from tax collections have gone from $9.9 (1998) to $16 billion (2005).

Attendees were also introduced to the “Bolivarian vision of energy intergration” by the current Minister Counselor for Petroleum Affairs, Fadi Kabboul. Seeing itself as a “key player for solving the global energy crisis,” the Venezuelan government seems very preoccupied with “correcting asymmetries” in worldwide energy consumption. One of the government’s goals involves linking existing oil pipelines to connect all of South America.

The panel of Venezuelan experts also answered a question from the floor regarding the country’s poverty rate. José Sojo, current Chief of the Economic Affairs Section at the Venezuelan Embassy, pointed to the various health and social programs that reach out to millions of people each year. He asserted that family income alone is not enough to determine the poverty level of Venezuela, and insists that the quality of life in the country surpasses the current notion of Venezuela’s poverty rate.


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