Nothing New

 Before we continue with our Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole  segment here’s something from today that’s healthcare related. Delcy Rodriguez,Nicolas Maduro’s VP, claimed that the Venezuelan government has vaccinated 11% of the population.I guess those enormous glasses she wears need a prescription update. The number is actually 1.1 % or just over 300,000 out of a population of 30 million. Please note that the population numbers,as are all numbers out of Venezuela,are questionable due to the migrant crisis.

 To put this in perspective, at the end of 2020 Maduro guaranteed (he’s really big on guarantees) 10 million Covid vaccine doses in the 1st quarter of 2021.Then it was 5 million by May,then June,and now July.You get the picture.

 There have been various reports of deliveries (unconfirmed) in recent months of quantities ranging from hundreds of thousands from Russia and over a million from China.Where they are and how many have really been administered is unclear.What is clear is there is no plan.It’s utter chaos with widespread reports of corruption and favoritism leading to a rising black market in vaccines.

 This is SOP (standard operating procedure) for Chavismo.When the reports came out that all those first in line at the vaccine trough were Chavistas and Carnet de la Patria (Fatherland Card) holders instead of healthcare workers and those most vulnerable they made a big show of vaccinating a few doctors and nurses as well as a few of the elderly and then blamed sanctions for their vaccination failures.You will notice this pattern repeated time and time again as I endeavor to enlighten you as to what has happened and is happening in Venezuela.Shifting dialogue,lack of reporting,obfuscation,and oppression are the order of the day. And when all else fails blame those imperialist,colonialist,capitalist Gringos!

 Continuing on with our Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole segment………

 That conversation stayed with me for a while.The real striking thing was Duglimar’s matter of fact attitude toward something that would horrify a non-Venezuelan.In the words of Chris Rock “I’m not  saying I agree with it…but I understand.”

 It’s difficult for the Venezuelans to get too upset about any one thing in particular when they are constantly bombarded from all sides in every area of their life. They are too busy trying to survive to worry about something they perceive as beyond their control.

 So what happened to Venezuela’s hospitals?After my conversation with Duglimar I knew I had to do some research.I went back to the beginning of Chavismo to try to get some kind of understanding.

 When Chavez came to power over 20 years ago one of his major achievements was the Barrio Adentro (inside the barrio) Program. I,like most people,thought this was a good idea.The opening of thousands of small hospitals in poor neighborhoods and rural areas that previously had little or no access to healthcare had to be a good thing.What could have been something so positive turned into an abysmal failure due to a poorly conceived and even more poorly implemented plan.

 As I explain this I’ll try to be as brief as possible but there are a few factors to be considered so please bear with me.

 In the early years of building up the program oil prices were beginning what would be a 10 year run of rising prices hitting all time highs and remaining up there for years. For an oil dependent economy that should be good news.

 In the early days of Chavez’s tenure oil production was also at an all time high (3 and 1/2 million barrels per day vs 720,000 in 2019 and reaching a low of under 200,000)

 At the same time,Chavez struck a deal with Fidel Castro to supply Venezuela with 25,000 Cuban doctors in return for oil shipments both at that time and for years to come.

 To be continued…….

 Is it just me or does anybody else feel like they can hear the guy that just jumped off a building saying “So far so good”?



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