Declaration for Venezuela

PRONOUNCEMENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR HEALTH POLICY (IAHP)AND THE LATINOAMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF SOCIAL MEDICINE (ALAMES) FOR VENEZUELA, IN THE WAKE OF THE REFERENDUM OF AUGUST 15TH
September 27th, 2004

The IAHP and the ALAMES wish to express publicly their congratulations to the Venezuelan people and would like to share this important moment of the results of the referendum of August 15th, which has confirmed Hugo Chávez Frías, in the post of President of the Republic.

This fact represents the consolidation of his legitimacy, which has been confirmed by the people in seven other electoral processes in the last five years, and which is a consequence of the changes currently underway in Venezuelan society and its government:

  • During this period, a further 1.5 million Venezuelans have access to drinking water, and the electricity companies continue to build power stations throughout the country.
  • The Social Security system has not been privatized: pension have been linked to the minimum wage.
  • National spending on health and education has doubled to 8% and 7% of GDP respectively. Doctors and teachers are now the highest-paid professionals, and the salaries of other health professionals are catching up.
  • The most remote villages of the country now have a doctor, thanks to the support and solidarity of Cuba.
  • The Venezuelan Constitution is probably the only one in the world to include, in article 88, that “the State recognizes housework as an economic activity that generates added value and creates wealth and social wellbeing”, and that “housewives have the right to social security, in accordance with the law”.
  • There are no political prisoners in Venezuela.

These facts, among others, constitute a small, but enormously significant testimony to the fact that, in the fields of health and social policy, alternative, non-hegemonic social processes that aim to progressively ensure that effective guarantees of the right to health are possible today.

With this pronouncement, which coincides with the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the death of Salvador Allende, we would like to share in the collective hope of the popular classes of Venezuela, Latinoamerica and the world our questioning of the neoliberal fraud, not merely without breaking the rules of democracy, but by developing them. In an age in which we are losing our sense of democracy, a democracy without a people, the Venezuelans are managing to build a reactivated, renewed democracy. Their democracy currently constitutes a benchmark reference and also obliges us to reflect on the sense of democracy today, on the real participation of the people in social processes and on the role of health in the construction of citizenship and on the alternatives to neoliberalism.

We believe that the next stage will not be easy, despite the people’s support. The political, social and ethical challenges facing the government and the people of Venezuela involve us all. Negotiation, together with the censure of those who opt for subversion will continue to be necessary strategies, and we trust that they will bear fruit and contribute both to the reduction in inequality in the population and to the consolidation of the areas of power which have been conquered for the construction of the new society.