New SDS commends the many accomplishments of the progressive government of Venezuela, especially in the field of higher education. As early as 2003, Hugo Chavez’s government embarked on a massive project to eradicate illiteracy, teaching over 1.5 million Venezuelans to read. Since Nicolas Maduro’s election in 2013, the Venezuelan government and people’s movements have made even greater strides in making higher education and dignity a reality for all.

These accomplishments include:

● The eradication of illiteracy by 2005 (according to the United Nations)
● The creation of 13 new universities, all for free
● Providing more than 4.8 million computers to schools
● Providing over 100 million technology textbooks to schools
● Providing over 20,000 schools with new technology equipment
● Ranks sixth in the world for enrollment in primary schools
● Expanded acquisition of secondary education to 73% of the population

The Maduro government has not cut a single social program. This is in spite of brutal sanctions forbidding US-allied countries to trade with Venezuela and in spite of White House attempts to sabotage their power facilities. Instead, the Venezuelan government has only increased their social programs to ensure that no families starve or are without shelter. Some examples are:

● Over 2.5 million families have been moved from the slums into high-quality housing since 2011.
● At least one clinic built every few blocks, to be accessible for free based on the healthcare system in Cuba.
● Providing a free box of groceries, including corn, wheat, dried milk, to 6 million families every two weeks.

We live in a country where neither higher education nor health care is free. Congress and the White House are in the hands of millionaires and billionaires who drool at the thought of privatizing the few government-subsidized institutions we do have, such as public schools, universities, or Medicaid. Many of us have accrued tens of thousands of dollars of debt just to be here, to receive an education with no guarantee of future employment. This is because the healthcare industry directors, university administrators, student loan servicers - all capitalists - are not interested in providing any social services for free, thinking only of profit for themselves, at the cost of people's lives and livelihoods. Thus, Bolivarian Venezuela gives us in the United States a vision of what is possible and what we can fight for.

SDS pledges to make our education count and to defend revolutionary movements that fight to free themselves from poverty, austerity, and US and European domination. We will stand in the way of the US government as they pursue all methods of destabilization, assassination, coups, and outright wars against these movements. We pledge to fight for a free and just education system within the United States itself, until we make education a reality for all.