Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro Introduces the Deputy Ministry of Supreme Social Happiness, But Many Venezuelans Disapprove
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro unveiled a new government division, the Deputy Ministry of Supreme Social Happiness (Viciministerio para la Suprema Felicidad), a new department that will track, troubleshoot and oversee 30 separate social programs, or "missions," in Venezuela. The development of the ministry is something that Maduro believes would have pleased the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who died in March of this year. However, plenty of Venezuelans seem to disagree with the development of this ministry.
The Deputy Ministry of Supreme Social Happiness is tasked with assisting children and handling the concerns of elderly men and women. The "missions," initiated in 2003 under Chavez, are individualized programs which offer free health care to the poorest citizens, access to education assistance, and help to the elderly and disabled.
"All these missions are part of the great system of socialist revolution that transcends the criteria of the State of welfare, a step forward in the framework of capitalism," Maduro said. Under Chavez, Maduro was the head of these missions and reported to the president with successes and failures.
The creation of the new cabinet has been met with outrage, sarcasm and disbelief, especially on the social media front. Radio show host Luis Chataing tweeted, "It's been 24 hours since the creation of 'Deputy Ministry of Supreme Happiness' and I'm already happy." Others joked about Maduro launching other "ridiculous" ministries, including the Deputy of Beer.
Maduro is being shamed by residents, some saying that he "has no limits." Others quipped that he has no priorities, and that the billions of dollars in oil revenue should go to addressing the ridiculous cost of medical supplies, food and goods, rather than the long list of social programming.
The social programs provide job training, handles housing, provides appliances and cash assistance for single mothers, though many believe that these missions will not produce long-term solutions. Rather, they say it is done to keep individuals loyal to the government, without providing solutions to resolve poverty in the nation.