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Venezuela's president launches new social programs


11:18, December 14, 2011

Image shows Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (L) chatting with an elder man as he launches a new social program at the Teresa Carreño theater in Caracas, Venezuela, on Dec. 13, 2011. The program aims to give and standardize pensions among the elderly, especially among those in poverty. (Xinhua/Venezuela Presidency)

CARACAS, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez launched a series of social programs Tuesday to improve welfare levels in the country, local press reported.

The programs are "Mission Venezuela in Old Love," focusing on helping the aged, and "Neighborhood Mothers," aimed at mothers.

Chavez said "Mission Venezuela in Old Love" will give pensions to old people who were never included in the social security records, and that over 200,000 retirees will now enjoy a pension from the government.

Chavez said these social programs will cost 8 billion bolivares (1.8 million U.S. dollars).

Moreover, Chavez Monday launched an anti-poverty program merged with other social programs to reduce poverty in the country.

The Venezuelan government plans to invest 10 billion U.S. dollars in the program "Great Mission Sons of Venezuela" (GMHV) to reduce the number of people living in poverty in Venezuela to 2.5 million in 2012 in its first stage.

The health program "Jose Gregorio Hernandez Mission," which has served disabled people since 2008, and the 2006 and 2009 pregnant women support programs were also included in the new strategy.

The Venezuelan government has said that the poverty rate in Venezuela declined from 49 percent to 27.4 percent in the first half of 2011, with the extreme poverty rate dropping from 21 percent to 7.3 percent.

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