Just as pretty much everything else in Venezuela, happiness is a matter of national interest, and as such, should be managed by the government. Just as the late comandante Hugo Chávez would have wanted it, President Nicolás Maduro announced on Friday the creation of the Viceministerio para la Suprema Felicidad Social – a deputy ministry for the supreme social happiness.
The new institution will supervise the social programs the country has initiated since 2003, called Misiones. Such programs give free health care to the poorest citizens, help to the elderly and disabled, and access to education. When they launched, the Misiones gave Chávez’s presidency a much needed boost.
Maduro, loyal to his political mentor, has decided to maintain the social legacy with the creation of the Happiness ministry. The institution will take care of complaints and applications to the services, and will monitor who is receiving what program and how it is being carried out. Former congressman Rafael Ríos has been appointed head of the department, and will be assisted by the former physician for the Chávez family, Julio César Alviarez.
“This Misiones have to be carried to heaven, where we can express our gratitude to Hugo Chávez,” said Maduro in the official presentation in Caracas.
It will not be the only sign of gratitude to Chávez. Maduro stated in the presentation that December 8 will be the first official day of loyalty to Chávez, in which the philosophy of the deceased leader will be honored.
Patricia covers Latin America for the International Business Times.
Before joining IBT in March 2013, she worked at BBC America in New York, La República in Lima...