Venezuela Leads Region in Poverty Reduction in 2012, ECLAC Says
|Written by Dan Beeton and Joe Sammut|
|Friday, 06 December 2013 10:19|
The Associated Press reported yesterday that the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has highlighted a slowing of progress in poverty reduction in Latin America, citing “rising food costs and weaker economic growth” as contributing factors:
But there are bright spots. ECLAC’s new “Social Panorama of Latin America” report [PDF] notes that Venezuela and Ecuador led the region in decreasing poverty in 2012:
This 5.6 percentage point decrease in Venezuela translates into a 19 percent decline in poverty overall last year, which CEPR Co-Director Mark Weisbrot noted last month “is almost certainly the largest decline in poverty in the Americas for 2012, and one of the largest – if not the largest – in the world.”
This dramatic decrease in poverty is likely due to the impact of two new misiones (social programmes), the Gran Misión En Amor Mayor Venezuela and the Gran Misión Hijos de Venezuela, which were, by January 2013, benefitting more than 1,400,000 people.
Both misiones are aimed at assisting people living in extreme poverty: GM En Amor Mayor provides pensions to elderly people, and the GM Hijos de Venezuela provides cash transfers to households with children and pregnant women. The two missions are reaching a significant number of people: as of January 2013, 516,000 elderly people were receiving a monthly pension through GM Amor Mayor. Meanwhile, the program GM Hijos de Venezuela was making monthly payments to 324,000 families, which represents 794,000 individuals.