Venezuela's populist president, Hugo Chavez, is widely expected to spend more on his government's social programmes, both at home and abroad.
The opportunity comes following his party's landslide victory in parliamentary elections on December 4th, after opposition parties boycotted the elections and withdrew their candidates.
Just consider the government's recently proposed 2006 budget, where a colossal 41% of total expenditure, or $16.6bn (£9.4bn), earmarked for social programmes, is now bound to sail through parliament unopposed.
Both Anna Lucia d'Emilio, the director of the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) in Venezuela, and Ramon Mayorga, the representative of the Inter American Development Bank (IADB), all agree that the country's social programmes are easily the biggest and most comprehensive in Latin America.
The target of the huge spending is Venezuela's huge poverty problem, afflicting more than half the population, and the profound social and economic inequalities which cause it....
Saturday, December 17, 2005
This comes after the elections.