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Venezuela: Key facts

Venezuela is not without its social problems and there are vast discrepencies between rich and poor - the poorest 20% having only a 4% share of the country's wealth.

Emergency health, education and welfare programmes - or missions - introduced by the government since 2003 have changed the lives of millions of the country's poorest.

About 14.5m now receive free primary health care through the Barrio Adentro, or Inside the barrio, programme, supported by Cuban doctors as part of an oil-related deal.

Critics question Venezuela's statistics, but some analysts say improvements such as access to free health do not show up in standard measures of poverty.

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