Maduro oversaw an event today at the Poliedro de Caracas to inaugurate the Presidential Education Council. The Council is made up of teachers, students, workers, and parents, and will work to (as Maduro put it), “achieve the objective of free, public, and good-quality education”.
Maduro told followers that the Venezuelan youth are not looking to emigrate from the country. He said that any assertion to the contrary was simply part of a misinformation campaign carried out by the “battered opposition”. He also said that Venezuelan youth:
… [represent] the soul, the purest aspect of our homeland… [Venezuelan youth] have values, ideals and determination. They want to build a homeland. They love their homeland and we should nourish that love, that faith in the homeland.
Maduro’s comments appear to contradict reality. A 2013 study titled Proyecto La Juventud Venezolana Protagonista de la Democracia [Venezuelan Youth at the Forefront of Democracy Project] conducted by the Universidad Catolica Andres Bello found that 27% of Venezuelans aged 15-29 planned to emigrate from the country.
On the topic of violence, Maduro said that violent video games “break young people”, and blamed the media for teaching children “anti-values, violence, individualism, pettiness, and the cult of weapons, drugs and gangs”.
No Cuts to Education as Oil Prices Stagnate
Maduro also acknowledged that while the price for a barrel of oil sat at $48 today – down from $100 a year ago – he would find ways to increase education spending:
Oil is sitting at $48, but education isn’t. Not only am I going to maintain [education spending at this level], but I’m going to improve it (…) We can cover ourselves just a little bit more than our blanket allows.
Maduro did not provide a concrete explanation of how he would be able to increase spending given the fiscal reality Venezuela faces, but he did suggest that the money would come from tax revenues.
Granger Goes to Washington; Guyana to Continue Essequibo Operations
Guyanese President David Granger arrived in Washington D.C. today to speak at a defense and security conference on the territorial dispute with Venezuela.
At the same time, Guyanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge spoke at an industry event in Guyana and said that his country would not stop investing in projects in the Essequibo region. At the same time, he said that Guyana hopes to achieve a peaceful resolution to the dispute with Venezuela over the region.
Both Venezuela and Guyana claim a 159,000 square kilometer area known as the Essequibo. The region is rich in minerals.
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