With ‘Misiones,’ Chavez Builds Support Among Venezuela’s Poor

With ‘Misiones,’ Chavez Builds Support Among Venezuela’s Poor

CARACAS, Venezuela -- "Es-tu-dian-te u-ni-ver-si-ta-rio."

It took a while, but José Bueno finally read out "university student" from a bulletin board at a Caracas primary school, where he is learning to read thanks to a government-sponsored literacy program. "I didn't know any of that before," he said. "But if you set a goal, you can achieve it."

Bueno grew up in rural poverty, planting corn and sweet potatoes instead of going to school. It was a time of donkeys and candles, a time of two-party democracy, oil-fueled modernization schemes, and corrupt elites. The system later collapsed and then came change.

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