La inflación de Hugo Chávez

CIUDAD DE MÉXICO – Los partidarios de Hugo Chávez, el recientemente fallecido presidente venezolano, e incluso muchos de sus críticos, han enfatizado reiteradamente dos supuestos logros que bruñirán su legado. En primer lugar, el porcentaje de personas en situación de pobreza se desplomó hasta aproximadamente el 28 % en 2012, desde su máximo del 62 % en 2003 (aunque tres años antes, en los inicios de la primera presidencia de Chávez, era del 46 %). En segundo lugar, brindó a la mayoría de los venezolanos un sentido de identidad, orgullo y dignidad del cual los privó durante mucho tiempo una oligarquía corrupta, elitista y de tez clara.

Ambas afirmaciones, sin embargo, son solo parcialmente ciertas, y solo explican parcialmente las reiteradas victorias electorales de Chávez –13 de 14 sufragios populares, incluidos los referendos. Respecto de la primera afirmación, tanto The Economist como el premio nobel Mario Vargas Llosa estaban en lo cierto al poner en perspectiva el logro de Chávez. Casi todos los países latinoamericanos han reducido significativamente la pobreza desde el inicio de este siglo. Las magnitudes de sus progresos dependen de los puntos de referencia y las fechas de corte, años buenos y años malos, la confiabilidad de los datos oficiales y de otros factores.

Las razones de esos avances son bien conocidas: con la excepción de 2001 y 2009, fueron años de bonanza para los países exportadores de productos básicos, como Brasil, Argentina, Perú, Chile y, por supuesto, Venezuela, así como para las economías basadas en producción manufacturera, como México. Además, durante esos casi 15 años, la mayoría de los gobiernos han administrado sus cuentas de manera responsable: déficits pequeños o inexistentes, baja inflación, programas de lucha contra la pobreza bien enfocados, etc.

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