Both the leading parties in Venezuela's parliament have
made education a priority. It is free of charge at all
levels and compulsory for 9 years since 1980. The private
school sector is small. In 1993, 89% of children aged 6-14
were estimated to attend school. However, only half
completed primary school due to quarantine and dropout in
high school. The difference is considerable in resources
between the city and the countryside. In the cities there is
usually one teacher per grade, while the rural teachers take
care of several grades. The standard in teaching results is
on average low. Only about a third continue in grades 9–12,
where the majority of students choose a general education
program that provides higher education. The remainder choose
a vocational preparation program in two or three years. The
majority of secondary school students came from the cities
in 1993. See TOPSCHOOLSINTHEUSA for TOEFL, ACT, SAT testing locations and high school codes in Venezuela.
The higher education sector includes universities,
teacher colleges, technical institutes and local colleges.
The basic degree is, as in several Latin American countries,
licencia, which qualifies for professions as a
civil engineer, lawyer or doctor. Other degrees or
certificates are also available. Since 1960, the number of
students has increased thirty-fold, which has created major
problems with lack of efficiency, large quarters and a
shortage of competent teachers.
In June 2011, Chávez appeared in Cuba, where he was
operated on for cancer. Over the next year, he was
re-examined several times in Cuba. In Latin America, there
was speculation about whether the CIA was behind it. The
Argentine President Christina Kirchner had also contracted
cancer, and the CIA is known for trying to kill foreign
heads of state, which the United States is unhappy with.
Venezuela held the presidential election in October 2012.
It was a deadly Hugo Chávez who won the election with 55.1%
of the vote.
Chávez's social programs and the redistribution of wealth
in the country had a positive effect on the poorest part of
the population. In the otherwise oil-rich country, 55.4% had
lived below the poverty line in 1998. That figure dropped to
29.5% in 2011. The economic was 11.85% annually in 2004-07.
Hugo Chávez died of cancer on March 5, 2013. The
presidential post was immediately taken over by his Vice
President Nicolás Maduro and, in accordance with the
country's constitution, a new presidential election a month
later, which Maduro won with 50.6% of the vote. His
counterpart demanded immediate recounting of votes, which
was finally rejected by the Supreme Court in August. The
much narrower margin than at the elections a year and a half
ago was attributed to Maduro in public being a relatively
unspoken magazine, although he had been a member of
parliament, minister and vice president for 13 years. Maduro
is originally a bus driver since the trade unionist and in
2000 was elected to parliament.
The right wing responded to the electoral defeat by
rioting: 15 health centers, 5 party headquarters and the
Ombudsman's office were razed. 9 were killed and 35 injured.
As one of its first official acts, Maduro deployed police
and military to reduce the number of murders in the country.
Venezuela was with 55 annual homicides per year. 100,000
residents in 2008 the third most dangerous country in the
world after Honduras and Jamaica. Even in the ultra-violent
country of the United States, the figure was 10 times lower.
After 1 month, security forces were able to report primarily
to Greater Caracas that the murder rate had been reduced by
55%. The reason Maduro focused on Greater Caracas (Miranda
Province) was also that it was ruled by his main political
opponent, Henrique Capriles, and that the assassination rate
had grown especially in this province during Capriles'
tenure as governor.
In July 2013, the President decided to offer Edward
Snowden humanitarian asylum in Venezuela. A month earlier,
Snowden had exposed the United States' global surveillance
of Internet, telecommunications and espionage directly to a
large number of world leaders.
In October, Maduro asked for permission to govern by
decree for a year to fight corruption and financial