Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez launched a program last year called “Love for the Elderly”, a pension program which provides minimum wage subsidies to pensioners (about $360 USD per month). More than 1 million people have already registered for this program.

“Love for the Elderly” aims at recognizing the efforts of the elderly who have worked their entire lives, and those who have been wronged by employers and did not receive social security benefits.

In 2012, Venezuela accepted the inclusion of senior citizens to their pension benefits program and approved 20,000 Venezuelans each month into the mission.

The Bolivarian administration relies almost entirely on the local debt market for financing, and this month has increased its borrowing for this program.  The administration is now asking for an almost $7 billion dollar increase for “Love for the Elderly” and other welfare programs like “Children of Venezuela”.

Chavez announced that Venezuela has enough resources to continue investing in the country’s development and ensures resources for social missions – a win for pensioners, who will likely have a livable income, and better funded programs such as “Housing Venezuela”.  Venezuela has also been struggling with an affordable housing crisis for more than a year, where thousands of Venezuelans have been living in disaster shelters, waiting for government homes.

What would this mean for the elderly of Venezuela?  According to one pensioner, Luis Araque from Caracas, “This is the first time that senior citizens are receiving help, and in my case I need it, because I have always been self-employed and I don’t have a pension.”  There are estimated to be 400,000 elderly in dire need in the country.
Venezuela Ecléctica (50 de 52 y 1/2)

[Credit: Flickr, NeoGaboX (Gabriel S. Delgado)]