3.1 Million Venezuelans Cast Votes in Primaries for United Socialist Party of Venezuela
29 June, 2015 (TeleSUR English)
Ahead of national legislative elections that will be
held Dec. 6, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela
(PSUV) held its primary election Sunday, with over
3.1 million casting their vote to select the party’s
The president of Venezuela’s National Assembly,
Diosdado Cabello, reported the turnout, with other
officials and socialist supporters going to social
media to post pictures of the long queues at polling
The right-wing opposition coalition, known as
MUD, also held its primaries in May, but registered
a lower turnout with 543,000 voters.
From the 1,162 candidates registered for these
primary elections, 98 were chosen to run as
candidates on behalf of the PSUV, the largest
political party in Latin America with over 7 million
The primaries were staged in 87 districts across the
country with gender and age quotas to facilitate
female and younger candidates.
During his speech on Sunday, Cabello added that
around 30 percent of the elected PSUV candidates
The PSUV has gone to great lengths to promote
inclusiveness in these primary elections, especially
among women and youth, with only 15 percent of
candidates above the age of 50 and more than half
being women. In contrast, more than 80 percent of
the candidates for the right-wing MUD were above
the age of 50.
The PSUV must win at least two thirds of the
National Assembly — some 111 seats — to
maintain the absolute majority required to approve
laws, among other legal instrument.
Illiteracy Rate Drops to Historic Lows in Bolivia
17 June 2015 (TeleSUR English)
Bolivia recorded this week that its illiteracy
level has fallen to 3.12 percent of the
population, the lowest the country has ever
seen, Education Minister Roberto Aguilar
announced Monday, adding that it is a major
achievement for the country whose illiteracy
rate was closer to 13 percent less than 10
“In 2005 we started with an illiteracy rate of nearly 13 percent,” said Aguilar. “This year
the illiteracy rate is 3.12 percent. Out of 100
people, three are illiterate, and of these three,
two are over 65.”
However, the education minister regretted
that illiteracy rates are highest among women,
with three out of every four illiterate persons
Aguilar attributed Bolivia’s educational
success to the social policies of President Evo Morales – who has been in power since 2006
– and his creation of a Plurinational State,
which granted more power to the various
cultures and ethnicities within the country.
Bolivia was declared officially illiteracy
free in 2008 when it recorded that only
3.8 percent of its population was unable to
read or write. Since 2008, that number has
been getting progressively lower. According
to UNESCO, the cultural branch of the
United Nations, countries are deemed free
of illiteracy when the rate is less than four
Cuba Has Officially Eradicated HIV
Transmission to Babies: WHO
June 30, 2015 (Granma News)
The World Health Organization says Cuba has just scored a huge victory in the global
battle against HIV and syphilis. Cuba became the first country in the world Tuesday
to be recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) for eliminating mother-
to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.
“This is a major victory in our long fight against HIV and sexually transmitted
infections, and an important step towards having an AIDS-free generation” said
Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General.
According to the WHO, Cuba’s mother-to-child transmission rate of HIV is now
below 2 percent of births, while syphilis transmission is less than 0.5 percent. Just two
babies were born with HIV in Cuba in 2013, while 5 were born with syphilis, according
to figures verified by the WHO and the Pan American Health Organization.
Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of the United Nations program UNAIDS, described
Cuba’s achievement as “a celebration for children and families everywhere.”
“It shows that ending the AIDS epidemic is possible and we expect Cuba to be the
first of many countries coming forward to seek validation that they have ended their
epidemics among children,” Sidibe said.
The WHO first announced they believed Cuba would be eligible for recognition in
March, but until now has withheld confirmation while it conducted an in-depth review
of the country’s health data.
Worldwide, close to 1.4 million women with HIV become pregnant every year. Without
specialized treatment, there is a 15-45 percent chance a HIV positive mother will pass
the disease to their baby, either before birth or during breast feeding. Comparably,
around 1 million women with syphilis become pregnant, according to the WHO.
In a statement, the WHO said Cuba’s milestone in combating these two diseases was
achieved through guaranteed comprehensive prenatal care for mothers, including
testing for HIV and syphilis.
“These services are provided as part of an equitable, accessible and universal health
system in which maternal and child health programs are integrated with programs for
HIV and sexually transmitted infections,” the statement read.
The milestone shows that the fight against some of the world’s worst diseases is
winnable, according to Pan American Health Organization director Carissa Etienne.
“Cuba’s success demonstrates that universal access and universal health coverage are
feasible and indeed are the key to success, even against challenges as daunting as HIV."