Our education is down, but kids like Álvaro can lift it up

Looking for a future in La Vega

UNICEF just published its annual report on the state of childhood around the globe. Venezuela fails to shine.

The huge education gap between the rich and poor puts us in the same league as countries like Benin, Pakistan and Tajikistan.

A big difference is that underprivileged boys in our country are facing much tougher chances than girls. It’s usually the other way around.

El Nacional decided to tell the story of one of these boys: 7-year old Álvaro, living in La Vega, a Caracas slum. Thanks to a scholarship given by Proniño, a foundation supported by Telefónica, he can carry on with his studies. When he didn’t find a place in public and private schools, he got one in a school of the Catholic Education Association. Even if he had to repeat third grade, he’s committed to moving forward.

However, he’s getting closer to high school. Many of the kids who finish elementary school don’t make it to the next level. Just in Caracas public schools, the drop-out rate reaches almost 40%, an astonishing figure. Many of the dropouts end up involved in crime and make up a hugely disproportionate share of victims (and perpetrators) of violence.

Meanwhile, the situation of our special education is more urgent. A new reform has been announced by the “always working” Education Minister, Maryann Hanson. Her plans could force kids with special needs to be mainstreamed into regular schools without prior evaluation and attention by Child Development Centers. Some groups of parents and teachers are uncertain about this, while others are organizing themselves to protest.

The obstacles that not just special children, but all children have to face to get a decent education in Venezuela are numerous. But thanks to kids like Álvaro there’s still hope. In the article, he told the newspaper journalist about his plans for the future:

“I want to finish school until I hit beige (refering to the shirt color used for the final two-years of high school). Then I want to be a lawyer. Lawyers look pretty good.”

Let’s hope Álvaro can make that dream come true. And that he’s not the only one who does.

67 thoughts on “Our education is down, but kids like Álvaro can lift it up

  1. Thanks very much for this post, Gustavo. The data from Unesco corresponds iery much with what PISA found out in Miranda…only that Miranda is at the top of education levels in Venezuela, so expect things in Guárico or Sucre to be way way way worse.

    Just one comment: I hope one day another kid like Álvaro will say “I want to be an engineer/biologist/physicist. Engineers/biologists/Physicists look pretty cool”

    I read a book by a British visitor to Venezuela from 1868 and another one by a German one from 1920 and both of them, after commenting on how little was done for education in Venezuela, said basically that those who do study (thus, didn’t become military) usually would go for law. They both mentioned correctly that even if law was one of the standard studies for those who “want to make it” no matter what in Europe or North America, it was not like “la última Pepsi Cola del desierto”…but in Venezuela.
    Nothing wrong with lawyers but we need people who actually create things…at least if we want to stop being a poor country believing itself rich.

    And it is not so much about the degree, the piece of paper. One of the most curious and productive scientists in Venezuela in the XVIII-XIX centuries could not carry out some works of engineering for which he was qualified because he didn’t have the papers…
    and he died a pauper because he was on the wrong political side.



    • “I hope one day another kid like Álvaro will say ‘I want to be an engineer/biologist/physicist. Engineers/biologists/Physicists look pretty cool'”

      Very well said! Venezuela has lots of lawyers. What it needs is people who make things and produce things.


      • The solution to this is pretty simple: Telenovelas. Change the model (of filming and storyline) and let it percolate.

        Most telenovelas take place, indoors, in the home, or in an office (bufete de abogados). Why not incorporate more real-life scenarios, at several workplaces? (Filming could take place at night, using day lighting). Why not include in the storyline the production of a widget, from concept to prototype, from preparation for market to client targetting, from marketing to sales?

        Consider the model established by one much-loved British TV series, now in its fifth season. The series, set and filmed in an actual, small fishing village, on the western coast of England, broach more real-life scenarios than what are commonly viewed. I’m talking about ‘Doc Martin’, a pilot that Germany and Spain have now adapted for their own populations. Essentially, the series are a marriage of comedy and drama (surrounding physical and mental illness, including that of the protagonist). We see in their workplaces: a surgeon turned family physician, in order to compensate for his panic attacks, inept plumbers-turned entrepreneurs, spacey medical secretaries (one of them learns to be a phlebotomist), a policeman with agarophobia, a pharmacist with issues, etc.


        • I have seen work situation TV shows and movies about lawyers, cops, detectives, pilots, doctors, businessmen, journalists, advertising people, soldiers, athletes, and politicians. Try as I might, the only show I can think of that is about engineers or scientists is The Big Bang Theory.

          Sigh… It’s a start…


        • The solution to this is pretty simple: Telenovelas. Change the model (of filming and storyline) and let it percolate.

          Here is some evidence on the power of telenovelas.Brazil’s soap operas linked to dramatic drop in birth rates.

          Despite a religious culture that condemns modern family planning methods, birth rates in Brazil have decreased from 6.3 children per woman in 1963 to 2.3 in 2000. This drop is of a similar scale to that seen in China, where the government has played an extensive and controversial role in controlling population numbers.
          Although such a change could be attributed to a range of factors, a new study reveals that there is a direct correlation between the availability of the Globo TV signal and low fertility rates across Brazil. This is accompanied by a similar pattern of increasing divorce rates, as well as the (albeit less remarkable) tendency for parents to name their children after popular characters.
          Novelas depict the “small, healthy, urban, middle and upper-class consumerist family,” says Alberto Chong, one of the study’s authors. “They have been a powerful medium through which the small family has been idealized.”
          The changing trends certainly resonate with an analysis of 115 Globo novelas aired between 1965 and 1999. It showed that 72 percent of the main female characters had no children, and 21 percent had only one child.

          If it worked for fertility rates, it might work for encouraging students to go into STEM careers, [Science Technology Engineering Math]

          Which reminds me of an old Argentine joke about an engineering grad. An electrical engineering graduate couldn’t find work, so he got a job as a lion tamer in a circus. The
          first time he was in the ring to tame a lion, he was shaking with fear. Then he heard the
          lion say to him, “Don’t worry, I’m an electrical engineer, too.”


    • “I hope one day another kid like Álvaro will say “I want to be an engineer/biologist/physicist. Engineers/biologists/Physicists look pretty cool””

      Abslolutely true.


    • The problem is that being an engineer in Venezuela these days is a tough row to hoe.

      We have two young people in the family that graduated 2 years ago – one in mechanical engineering & one in electronic engineering.
      After spending more than 6 months trying to find work in Caracas with no luck the mechanical engineer started a cupcake business and the electronic engineer decided to try & get a doctorate. That’s not working out too well either as the University has no funds to pay the professor or the materials required.

      Welcome to Socialismo 2012!


      • I know and it was actually already bad before (although not as bad as now).
        When I say “I hope one day” I also mean we finally grasp the urgency of getting those people and create the environment for them. That was starting to happen at the end of the nineties (I still remember how I actually bought a Venezuelan RADIO!).

        And I repeat: it is not so much about the bloody degree. Look at Gates, look at Edison.
        This is the drama of underdeveloped nations. Omar Sharif studied physics and mathematics before but as he said, he had to go into acting.


      • My cousin in USA left her career as an engineer to start a business in specialty bakery – gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts & soy free cupcakes -. She is doing pretty well. :-)


        • Your cousin in the USA has access to a market of people with enough financial resources to make specialty (i.e. expensive) cupcakes a financially sound idea. Further, the market she sells to actually cares about gluten-free vs. dairy-free, and can tell the difference between the two. Choosing to open that kind of business in the US is very different from having to bake cupcakes in Venezuela because you couldn’t get a job in six months. Completely different situations.


          • There are alergic people in Venezuela too, you know… And the “specialty” doesn’t necessary means “more expensive”.


            • Of course there are allergic people in Vzla., and for all I know this person may end up doing really well. I certainly hope so.

              However, my point was that your reply was a bit too cheerful considering that the gist of IC’s post was that his relative had had to give up on the idea of actually earning a living using the degree they spent years studying for. “Starting a business in the US” and “buscarse un resuelve en Venezuela” are very different things.

              PS– I also know that “specialty” need not mean “more expensive”, but try telling Whole Foods that :p


            • Esc.Arr. –

              I didn’t think my comment was meant to be cheerful, but to remain optimistic. It was about turning adversity into opportunity. If a kid like Alvaro, despite all the things he has to go through, is able to smile while going to school, why wouldn’t we?

              You don’t know under what circumstances my cousin decided to change careers, regardless of the market she is in. My sister in Margarita, a cancer patient who went through a very rough mastectomy, was unable to work for a while, baked cookies that my niece sold in Pampatar’s bay.

              I sold tupperware and did somebabysitting and my ex-husband worked in a warehouse as legal newcomers to Canada, despite the two masters and three languages we have. And by remaining optimistic and not losing the goal, we were able to build up very good careers.

              I absolutely understand that the circumstances in Venezuela can be quite overwhelming and oppressing for a lot of people, specially for young graduates, like canuck’s kids. But staying put just crying over the adversity is the worst thing that one can do.


    • Not only people that can create, but people that can make. For today’s Venezuelan economy I think there is a surplus of engineers. That’s shown by the difficulties that they have to find jobs and by the poor pay they receive. A fresh out of college engineer will make between BsF. 5000 to 8000.

      On the other hand the demand for properly trained technicians is brutal. Electricians, machinist, fab people, line operators, heavy equipment operators, cooks, carpenters, industrial mechanics, you name it. A INCE trained tech will make more money out of school than a USB engineer. I agree that we don’t need as many lawyers, but don’t overestimate our need for engineers and people with advance degrees in the current economy.


      • That is also very true. Those technicians and highly skilled farmers are absolute priority.
        And it is based on their cooperation that our engineers and other scientists will find a job.

        To build cars you need more highly qualified mechanics people than industrial engineers.


        • Engineers do the designing, while the rest are in production. China is finding out that the money in production has very low profit margins, while the design and brands make the big money! The same in Venezuela.


          • Outsourcing production has huge implications on the origanization’s ability to innovate. The US and Europe are getting more reluctant to outsource to China both for the exposure on IP and the lost of ability to innovate in production.


      • By the way, it is now “INCES” (Instituto Nacional de Capacitación y Educación Socialista)
        Perhaps very soon they will change the name to “Instituto Nacional de Capacitación y Educación Socialista Totalmente Organizado” or something.


      • It is expecting a lot for a new Venezuelan engineer to start a company from scratch in Venezuela that can compete with overseas companies that have years of patent protections, sales and marketing, and ample financial resources.
        Now, that being said, there are lots of unemployed world-class engineers who would teach, consult, or provide valuable experience and management skills to new Venezuelan start-ups if the capital were there. The western economies right now aren’t supporting new start-ups very well.


        • Gordo,

          I don’t know where are you getting this arguments from. I agree that starting a company from scratch is a lot to expect from a fresh out of college engineer. But some of them do and do pretty well. Experience it is certainly useful to start a company. Patents are one the most valuable resources for start-ups not the other way around. At least if they truly have something original going on. For most start-ups is the technology acquisition by larger companies the most common exit strategy.

          And western economies are pouring capital to start-ups, perhaps not in the right industries, but depends what you want to do and who do you get connected with. I can at least assure you first hand that there is a lot of cash being handed out for tech (read apps), medical devices and in a lesser extent renewable energy start-ups


      • “A fresh out of college engineer will make between BsF. 5000 to 8000.”

        The 2 engineers couldn’t find anything that was above minimum wage.


      • Maybe in Caracas a few companies, mostly multinationals (foreign companies with Venezuelan capital), will pay those salaries. If you go to other cities in Venezuela, 8000 would be a basic salary for an Engineer with 10 – 15 years of experience….


      • Take a look at the Colegio de Ingenieros “suggested” salaries (Tabulador Salarial):


        Salary for someone without Experience is 5750 BsF., in order to make 8000 you need 4 to 5 years


        This is suggested salaries, in the real life only big companies, multinationals Pharmaceutical, Cellular Phone operators, Drug labs, Car assembly Plant, maybe Polar pay these salaries)


        • I graduated from USB and that’s what a lot of my classmates and friends are making.

          Perhaps it is just around the Caracas area, but it is definitely not only transnationals, also start-ups and local companies. Any how my point was that it is very, very little. Have you ever wondered how much as baker, cook or heavy equipment operator makes in month?

          My whole point is that those tech type jobs are paying more today that an engineering, biologist role ate the beginning of their career.


          • Rodrigo,

            You and your classmates of the USB are probably an exception and not the rule (at least what I have seen) . Many companies pay sub-standard salaries to Engineers these days. You just have to go the Tuy Valleys, Guarenas or Altos Mirandinos 40 -60 kms. from Caracas . You would not believe the amount of very competent industrial engineers from the UNET (Universidad Nacional del Tachira) who have to work so far from their homes, for substandard salaries because there are no Industries (job opportunities) in the Tachira state or in general in the Andes region.

            I understand and agree in your poiny that if an Engimeer makes tah ittle, how much will a cook, baker or heavy equpment operator make ?

            The new government to work in improving the general economy to help the development of local industries, maybe the government policy of substitution of imports of the 1960´s wasnt a bad idea.-

            Jobs have to be developed for everybody – skilled or non skilled. But How ?.


            • Ok I read again and I misunderstood you – your idea is that some technical jobs pay more, than a recently grad engineer – this usually happens if their jobs are skilled or niche jobs – not many people available for the job – offer and demand –


    • I agree, Venezuela necesita otra clase de “doctores”. It is funny how in Venezuela everybody is a Dr. The problem is being a scientist in Venezuela does not guarantee I good job or salary and the funds for research are very limited.


      • A smart man I know from El Tigre always said: ” Dr.? Asi le decimos a los pendejos en mi pueblo”.


  2. Let’s hope and root for Alvaro. He is in no way first. I personally know persons (not enough of them, ever!) who came from just such backgrounds and became engineers and researchers.

    Again, let me beat the old drum. The culture of violence, impunity and theft that has taken over Venezuela has to be stamped out, first, second and thirdly. Else you have something like the waste inherent in war: Amazing people and wondrous achievements are destroyed in a few seconds.


  3. October 7th can’t come soon enough for all the Alvaros, and then some. Of course, I’m assuming that the military will prevail and allow popular rule to proceed unimpeded; that an opposition majority will de-activate the medusa, which has destroyed so many lives and opportunities, for so long; that a win by HCR means a rollout for security and education, in short order; and that the changes will start to heal a nation, and infuse the country with hope, capabilities, and optimism. Maybe I’m dreaming.


  4. One thing that I read in the article in El Nacional caught my attention. The parents do not have the 3 Bs. for the public transportation every day…but they have cable TV? I have lived outside Venezuela for many years and I do not know how much cable TV cost, but it is possible that is cheaper than public transportation? or it is just that the priorities in Alvaro’s family are one more strike against his education?


    • Cable TV has become a very necessary item in today’s Venezuela. Even in the poorest slums or in the most remote parts of the country, you can find satellite dishes. For parents, it’s good to have choices like Discovery Kids at home. Matter of fact, there was one VTV transmission where Chavez was in a school and then he turn on a TV and Discovery Kids was on, then he tried to put Vive or something like that and the kids all yelled NOOOOO. I don’t remember when this happened, but I saw it myself. LOL.


    • I remember one of the first colour TV sets I spotted in Venezuela. My dad was driving at the level of the Distribuidor on the Autopista del Este in Valencia, there was a jam. My view was set to one of the shanty towns there and I saw an open door and through the open door the flickering images of the colour TV.

      Many books are expensive in Venezuela even in absolute terms and yet some are not so much. I mentioned I had bought this and that book there and people looked at me as if they were such a luxury…but then they have those fancy watches and the nicest mobiles.

      At a conference organized by Germans in Caracas once they were joking with each other: you should really try to wear something posher, not those inexpensive shoes and that T-shirt…else they are going to identify you as a foreigner with dollars and rob you.

      Again, remember the discussion we had about that school in Petare (Sukhois over Petare). One guy from Sucre told us a contribution could perhaps go first into buying computers. And I thought repairing toilettes (which they still don’t have) and buying books was more important.


      • Kepler,
        Among the things we bought was toiler repair kits. 2 of them. Also stuff to repair lights, doors, locks, sinks, etc. on top of the stuff bought for the handcraft shop.

        Don’t take so seriously the lighthearted comment about the computers. The guys at the municipality coordinated with the school principal to build a “wish list” with their needs.

        The team working with Ocariz is of the highest quality, in all aspects (training, experience and values).


        • Well, that’s cool. I hope Juan can organise a new collect in a while. I can mobilize some Europeans. Let’s go for books, preferably for a little library from which pupils can borrow books. I know this is not usual in Venezuela. I would go to THE public library of Valencia and spend time there, it was nearly impossible to borrow books. In Venezuela now the opposition introduce in some places the distribution of textbooks, but they are not on a loan basis and there is little money for that. Let’s see if these kids can get at least a tiny collection of different books they can borrow for some time and in doing so learn the value of what is in there.


  5. Just a comment about special education. Many studies show that children with special needs learn more in a normal classroom with normal children. Children actually learn from each other, and special needs classrooms lose much of this. Just a thought.


  6. Hoping my education can serve a purpose, too, I’d like to point out to those who are thinking along the lines of entrepeneurial spirit, (e.g., cupcakes, or “production of a widget, from concept to prototype, from preparation for market to client targetting, from marketing to sales”) that entrepeneurs have a very difficult time succeeding if their target consumer doesn’t have money.

    Case in point, a young lady from a poor household wanted to sell t-shirts with drawings of cartoon characters as a street vendor. She planned on buying special paints that, when ironed, would raise up from the cloth to add an interesting texture to the t-shirt. I did the numbers for her given her price options for buying in bulk the blank t-shirts and paints. When we got to estimating sales, she began to realize that none of the people she thought would want the t-shirts would be able to afford them, unless she sold at an unacceptable profit margin, given the time it took her to make the drawings.

    So, someone with education but no money either has to find someone with money to hire him, or someone with money to start up; either way, he’ll need people with money to consume the product or service of his employer, or of his startup.

    Without cash distribution, education is limited to the current trickle down flow of inequality economics, which is extremely inefficient, and sadly unjust. To oil up the local market systems so that education can have its full potential for success, as opposed to the current system of centralized urban advantage, there has to be cash in the pockets of the local consumers, which also helps win elections, disables abusers of power, and eliminates poverty. Win, win, win, win, win. Besides, it’s regressive not to…


    • In this Venezuelan economy, where most everything is imported, one would hope that there might be some imports people are buying already that could be made domestically. Maybe not t-shirts with cartoons, but perhaps something else?


      • Exactly, Gordo. Things are imported because the locals decide not to produce them because they cannot sell them to the locals because the locals don’t have the money to buy them. There has to be local cash for local markets to flourish. The t-shirts was the first of several projects that that young lady attempted. Finally, the one that succeeded for her, was furniture made out of pvc piping, but she couldn’t sell, locally; she had to move to the city because that’s where the people *with the money* were for her product.

        Again, there has to be money in the local consumers’ hands, or there is no local consumer market, irrespective of education.


        • Torres, that’s why a large medium class is so important in any country. The rich are not enough to spread the money. one needs many people with money for the system to work.


          • Exactly, Bruni. “one needs many people with money for the system to work.”

            That’s why spreading the money throughout the *lower* class in a country where the poor are majority its even *more* important than merely the middle class, as you describe. The richest and the middle classes are not enough to spread the money. Cash distribution rules.


        • Glad that the young lady finally succeeded with her furniture venture. To say that she had to move to the city because that’s where the people *with the money* were for her product …hmmmm, any other reasons? Or does this suit your argument better? Because that means that no profit centers can be established outside Caracas. And that’s BS, extorres.But hey, whatever makes a nice little spin, huh?


          • Syd, sounds like you’re prejudging, because you’re concluding that I’m spinning before you have the answers to the questions that would determine if I am. But most puzzling to me, are you suggesting that a consumer market with richer consumers is not advantageous for business success over a consumer market with poorer consumers? Really?

            Of course there were other reasons, but buyers was the key one. I am not implying there are no profit centers outside of Caracas. In fact, I didn’t even mention Caracas, on purpose, only “city”. But to give you more details, the reason she moved to the city is because the profit margin was greater if the business was close to both materials and end product delivery locations. She started near where she lived, but the pvc was cheaper in bulk at the city if she did her own pick ups, and most of the orders were coming from people in the city, especially when she started taking bulk orders. So, transportation cost was a big factor at the beginning, but ease and time for deliveries of the finished product became determinant because of the physical volume increase, so the key became delivery locations.

            Syd, given your education and experience I would not doubt that you would have done better than this young lady, much more in less time at greater profit with less risk, etc. But that’s precisely the point. Do agree that if you were setting up a business selling alpargatas that you would be more likely to do better if the target consumers had a greater income? The same is true for someone with less education. Their chances of success increase if the target consumers have more income. I agree they’ll have a rougher time than educated people, which is why I agree with you on the importance of education. About what you don’t seem to want to be open is that a market of richer consumers makes it easier, regardless of education level.

            So cash distribution would help this young lady as it would have helped you; it’s independent of education, though it would empower the educated even more.


    • entrepeneurs have a very difficult time succeeding if their target consumer doesn’t have money.

      sigh. the whole idea of an entrepreneur, at least a moderately sucessful one, is that before a prototype is produced, he or she has grasped the rudimentary concept of producing a product,identifying the target market, capturing that target market through creative marketing, pricing the product vis-à-vis the competition (and including all aspects of getting that product to the buyer), and perceiving (with realism) the distinct possibility that the identified market will grow, through the entrepreneur’s creative marketing strategies (and not all involve costs), the diversification of the product line, and the expansion of the market territory.

      It’s really elemental, ET. If someone is thinking about producing a too-segmented product for which there is no appreciable market, or worse, for a market that has no money, that person should consider another line of work.


      • forgot to mention other important considerations for that entrepreur: the identification of and reliance on more than one supplier of (raw) materials, the inputting of the cost of raw materials into one’s pricing model, and the need to ensure quality control throughout the manufcaturing rocess. What else? Permisología, too, can be critical.There’s more, of course, depending on the complexities of the product or the market. But in essense, the entrepreneur doesn’t leave one stone unturned when studying ALL aspects of his/her product, and the market which will buy it.


          • Syd,

            Firstly, I’m a bit shocked by your high horse position deciding who is or isn’t entrepeneur material. The young lady example I gave was of a 15 yr old girl that, independently of her context of a very lousy school, learned about the entrepeneurship process that you describe the hard way: experience. The t-shirt was her first idea, which she intelligently bounced off of others before setting out on the venture. Her loss was one tube of paint and one t-shirt to try the concept, money for which she obtained by saving half a year’s worth of selling flavored ice cubes to children in her neighborhood on hot days. I consider myself lucky enough to have been witness to her entrepeneurial development through a series of self-inspired ideas of hers, and to see her finally succeed with the pvc pipe furniture. Within 6 months of graduating highschool she was hiring 3 persons. That you would brush off someone’s potential the way you did above says much more about you, than about any lack of entrepeneurship abilities of this young lady, or other people in similar situations. Last I heard she was married to an unemployed engineer and with children, and not only out of poverty but employing others out of poverty, too. My hat’s off to her.

            Secondly, I get the impression you are not giving my points true consideration. For example, I did not pit cash distribution against education; I noted that cash distribution helps education attain its full potential of benefits. No amount of education is going to get poor people to make money out of poor populations, simply because the poor populations don’t have money to spend to make it worthwile to set up the business at a poor locality. That, to use your term, is elemental.

            Finally, education does not trump cash distribution, it is one more reason for it.

            Given y+1=3, you would have no trouble determining that the solution to y is 2. We have something that reduces inequality, linearly and directly, but we don’t use it. We have something that wins elections, an election that is at a crossroads between communism and democracy, but we don’t use it. We have something that can kill the petrostate model, converting people from supplicants to citizens, but we don’t use it. We have something that eliminates poverty, by definition, but we don’t use it. We have something that halts the current illegal regressive spending, but we don’t use it. The list goes on.

            Solving for Venezuela’s “y” gives “cash distribution”. Not wanting to accept it points to an education problem, indeed. Yours.


            • Solving for Venezuela’s “y” gives “cash distribution”.
              *Sounds* good.

              education does not trump cash distribution, it is one more reason for it.
              Huh? Define ‘it.’ Oh wait, I’m being too high horse by suggesting clarity.

              ET, for months, you’ve been trying to ram down our collective blogthroats your circuitous and pretty arguments for cash distribution. Based on your conviction — and I applaud such passion when translated to an accurate target market — may I suggest that you submit your position paper to those who can really take the ball and run with it — politically and economically? Presenting to those who could support or reject your thesis, would provide you with a new audience, much better suited for decision-making, than the readers of this blog, including the uneducated person writing this.


            • Thank you for your suggestion, syd, however veiled it’s insulting nature, I will take from it what is useful. In fact, I have been targeting other venues for the ideas I support, but I disagree with you regarding the appropriateness of this blog for my main push. I see a potential in this blog, especially in Francisco Toro, from which I would not distance myself even for money.

              As to the *sound* of solving for Venezuela’s “y”, why don’t you counter the arguments instead of the “sound”?

              As to referring to yourself as uneducated, … please.


            • Forgot: “it” referred to education and cash distribution, respectively, as in “education is one more reason for cash distribution”.


          • Perhaps I have been pointing at the wrong aspects of cash distribution to get someone like you on board, Syd. Here’s a new angle:

            What do you think would happen to bank loan interest rates if the total of oil revenues were being deposited daily into people’s savings accounts in savings and loans banks? The banks would have in their books all that cash, on which they would have to pay interests. So I think they would be desperate to lend that money out to be able to charge interests on loans to be able to pay the interests on savings. So interest rates on loans go down, so people can take out more loans, also because they have a guaranteed income that the bank can use as collateral.

            Do you agree this would help local business development?

            By the way, I also think banks would compete to educate more people regarding different financial tools, use of which, as Quico has pointed out in the past, is highly correlated to people pulling themselves out of poverty.


  7. Certainly a beam of light in an environment of poop.
    i hope he get’s to be a lawyer,a successful one and puts a lot of corrupt people behind bars.


  8. I like the part where girls are doing better at education than boys. Its good that Chavez has not learned much from his arab buddies! This could be a good thing. If not the Sixth Republic the Seventh could be called “La Republica des Amazonas Venezulana” where men can only watch the kids and pick mangos.


  9. In a couple of years I will amount to 23 years in education. The abyss has me shell-shocked. I can’t help but feeling that those of us with access to as much education as we want owe something to any child like Alvaro. Beyond governments and history.


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