President Hugo Chavez announced a 50 percent salary boost and other benefits for members of Venezuela’s armed forces.
The salary boost will be retroactive from September 2010. Via live broadcast from Maracay, in the Caribbean state of Arauga, Chavez presented 832 members of the armed forces with apartments in a military housing complex.
Additional benefits will include a guarantee of low interest rates, with no downpayment, on the purchase of homes and cars for military members. The pay rise is significantly above inflation, which is expected to reach 30 percent this year.
While the move is likely an attempt to appease the armed forces, an important power base for Chavez, it could also have an impact on corruption in the institution. There have long been allegations that the Venezuelan military colludes with drug trafficking and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and increasing salaries could in theory cut the incentive for elements in the army work with criminal groups.