In 2006, in the midst of the Chávez era, I toured Caracas and the surrounding area. At the time, the administration was touting its much-vaulted social programs or “missions.”
In 2003, the government created “Misión Barrio Adentro” or “Inside the Neighborhood Mission,” a program to provide basic health care to disadvantaged neighborhoods. However, over time Barrio Adentro began to fray at the edges, with Cuban doctors employed by the program seeking asylum in the U.S. Misión Ribas, meanwhile, provided adult education.
Despite its much-vaulted cooperative program, many enterprises remained mired in corruption and the government never succeeded in paving the groundwork for democratization of the economy.
It’s easy to forget just how much Chávez’s political fortunes were tied to anti-Bush sentiment at the time.
In downtown Caracas, a more intriguing mural sought to convey Venezuelan history from a leftist perspective.
Now that Venezuela is imploding under Nicolás Maduro, these photos from 2006 seem somewhat dated and the left must fully learn from its mistakes.