Bolivarian Missions, a more humane and integral conception of social policy?

Project: Research project

Project Details


his research proposal is based on the social policy of the government of Hugo Chávez Frías, whose touchstone is the so-called Bolivarian Missions. The interest of the research lies in analyzing the conceptualization, execution and control of this important social investment project; this will allow us to determine its character as an integral and consistent project, in the light of a broad conception of exclusion, democracy and poverty, and/or its assistance and focused nature, based on circumstantial factors related, in large part, to high oil revenues and electoral dynamics.

These missions respond to an old and legitimate aspiration of the Venezuelan people that considers "social justice" as an indispensable banner of any good political, economic, normative and social project. The administration of Hugo Chávez has shown itself willing to reinterpret this demand with a view to increasing participation and vindicating the rights of the poorest sectors in Venezuela. In this sense, the Bolivarian project adopts a "structural" perspective since it denounces and fights the current practices of domination and exclusion as the true causes of the serious social problems that beset Venezuelans.

Historically, social policies have been framed within capitalist paradigms, especially the Keynesian one - associated in Latin America with the model of import substitution - and the neo-liberal one, of more recent application. In both cases an "economicist" conception of the social field prevails, since the solutions to its deficiencies (poverty and inequality) necessarily depend on optimal economic growth and good performance of macroeconomic indices. In reality, however, this reasoning has not been fulfilled. Therefore, it is imperative to propose new political and development models that advocate for an "alternative and integral" conception and serve as a basis for the adequate implementation of public policies in social matters.

The above justifies an exhaustive and rigorous investigation, with a view to obtaining a more precise diagnosis, analyzing the strengths and weaknesses and providing more accurate forecasts about the practical and conceptual framework of the Bolivarian Missions. The proposed methodological approach is descriptive-analytical; the mixture of these two types of research allows us to give a wider and more complete coverage to the topic. With the purpose of structuring the investigation, it has been determined to divide it into five Operational Phases that can be developed during one year: FO of exploration; FO of diagnosis and analysis; FO of verification; FO of discussion and writing; FO of revision and evaluation. The first and third phases will involve trips by the researchers to three cities in Venezuela in order to gather and analyze "first-hand" information.

The results of the research will be a Research Paper-CEPI and an academic article to be published in a national and/or international indexed journal. In addition, a database of contacts of interest to the Observatory and a bibliographic bank on the missions will be created.


The results of the research will be a Research Paper of the Center for Political and International Studies six months after the project has started and an academic article to be published in a national and/or international journal indexed at the end of the research process. In parallel to the above, the work done will be used to create a bibliographic bank on the missions and a database of Venezuelan contacts of interest to the Observatory.

Likewise, in accordance with the general objective of the Venezuelan Observatory, the results will not only be presented through the research document and the academic article, but will also be disseminated to the general public through the presentation of papers at events, opinion articles for the written media, and participation in television and radio programs by the members of the Observatory. The target population of the work carried out by the Observatory is the general public and these activities contribute to the "popularization of research".

Also, the results obtained will allow for the enrichment of the course "Perspectives of Venezuela in the 21st Century" offered by the members of the Observatory to the students of the University. This course began to be offered during the second semester of 2006 and its purpose is to study, understand and analyze the political reality of the country and its different expressions in the political, economic, social, cultural, military and international fields.

Finally, through this project a new research assistant will be trained for the Venezuela Observatory.

Thus, the results are related to the social appropriation of knowledge and the formation of future generations.
Effective start/end date4/1/073/31/08

Main Funding Source

  • Internal