A recent Reuters report revealed that PDVSA’s contributions to the state over the span of 2011 have tripled those of 2010. The report states that funds being transferred to the Bolivarian Missions have doubled in 2011 (reaching $8.5 billion) and that Chavez’s new program, “Great Housing Mission” received $2.4 billion. However, without discussing what Chavez’s social “missions” are or their track record of success the article does little to explain the actual significance of this increase.
The Bolivarian Missions are written off as “social projects” that have “assured Chavez’s popularity among the poor” without explaining how exactly these programs have been able to achieve such support. Looking at the declining unemployment, growing female labor participation rate, and increasing primary education attendance, the budget’s focus on such programs is encouraging. Although the drastic increase in spending may be a campaign move by Chavez, no more support would be gleaned if the programs proved to be ineffective.
Agreeably, the article closes alluding to the growing pressure being placed on the national oil company, making note of it’s growing debt and increasing need for investment. As operating costs rise and government’s dependence on PDVSA funding for programs grows we’re left wondering how much longer the company can carry on.