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By the numbers: Venezuela and President Hugo Chavez

February 13, 2012 |  9:33 pm


Longtime Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez will face Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles in October in a presidential election that will decide whether Chavez can stay in power after 13 years in office. The campaign is likely to focus on how the South American nation has changed for better or worse during that lengthy term. Here's a rundown:

Homicides – The rate has doubled under Chavez to 67 people per 100,000, according to the Venezuela Violence Observatory, which tracks homicides.

Perceived corruption – Between 1999 and 2011, Venezuela moved from 75th to 172nd on the Corruption Perception Index created by nonprofit Transparency International.

Poverty – Extreme poverty in Venezuela has been cut in half, with the percentage of Venezuelans living in dire poverty from 20% down to 10%, according to economist Jose Manuel Puente.

Child mortality – The likelihood that a child will die before reaching his or her 5th birthday has dropped from 2.5% to 1.8% between 1999 and 2010, the last data available from the World Bank.

Unemployment – Joblessness fell from 15.2% to 8.8% between 1999 and 2011 according to national statistics. Though the rate has fallen, it is still seen as a problem in Venezuela.

Children out of school – The number of elementary school students out of school dropped from nearly 440,000 to 171,000 between 1999 and 2010, according to World Bank figures.

Competitiveness – Venezuela dropped from 50th to 124th on the World Economic Forum rankings of competitiveness, which are meant to measure potential for growth.

Foreign investment – The flow of foreign investment turned. In 1999 Venezuela gained nearly $2.9 billion in foreign investment. In 2010, it lost $1.4 billion, according to World Bank data.

Oil production – Venezuelan production of crude oil fell between 1999 and 2010, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Inflation – Inflation has bobbled throughout Chavez’s tenure, volleying between 13% and 31%, according to World Bank figures.


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Photo: Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez waves as he attends the first session of a summit by the eight-nation Bolivarian Alliance bloc in Caracas, Venezuela, in February. Credit: Ariana Cubillos / Associated Press