Up Here And Down There

 Before we get back to the collapse of Venezuela’s healthcare system let’s take a quick look at the spread of the migrant crisis. The collapse of healthcare in Venezuela is one of the many factors that has led to 5,643,665 Venezuelans fleeing the country.Soon they will pass Syria as the country with the most displaced citizens.How bad is that (ret)!! Syria has been in the throes of full blown civil was for years now and the global media has covered it in depth. And the coverage of Venezuela…well…I guess the slow motion destruction of a country isn’t as sexy a story. No war,civil or otherwise.No natural disaster.It’s just the man made disaster of 21st century Bolivarian Socialism.

 Venezuelan migrants initially left by plane and are scattered across the globe.Then they started crossing  by bus and on foot into various countries in South America.Since most of the Venezuelan immigrants to the US were legal and came by plane to places like Miami and Houston nobody cared.Now Venezuelan migrants are joining the flood of illegal immigrants at our southern border.Two years ago 135 Venezuelans crossed the border illegally into Texas. In the last year,and a large portion in recent months,that number has ballooned to 10,864.Is anybody paying attention…Up Here…Down There..? Now,back to Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole

 So the money is rolling in and you have cheap labor to staff the program.It should have been a slam dunk to set up a program that was almost indefinitely sustainable  and would benefit the Venezuelan people for generations.The only way this could fail would be an unprecedented series of mistakes,miscalculations,and levels of greed and corruption never seen before in Venezuela.

 Well,you guessed it! That’s exactly what happened.

 The biggest factor to the failure of this and basically every area of the Venezuelan economy and society was the massive borrowing campaign the Cavistas embarked upon.I know it sounds crazy.With all that money rolling in why would you be borrowing 60 billion from China and billions more from Russia?The only thing I can think of is the infamous trifecta of greed,corruption,and a lust for power combined with a healthy dose of economic ignorance.

 Nothing lasts forever.Other oil dependent economies have sovereign wealth funds or “rainy day” funds,if you will. Keep your debt low and serviceable and with the cushion of your wealth fund you will be fine no matter what happens. The massive borrowing by the Chavistas took away all there wiggle room and mortgaged their future. Who worries about a rainy day when the sun is shining?

 The sun shone brightly for a while and spurred on by the widespread support of the populace and the international community the Chavistas pushed the envelope even further.They ran up a 6 billion dollar credit tab with the pharmaceutical companies and expropriated various companies that would later be needed to support the healthcare sector.As is the norm,when private sector companies are expropriated by governments their production drops precipitously if they are fortunate enough to not go out of business altogether.

 Now comes the real killer.With all that oil money pouring in and all that borrowed money available the Chavistas didn’t use that money to fund Barrio Adentro. Instead they diverted funds away from existing hospitals guaranteeing their deterioration. Since it happened over time nobody really cared.The sun was still shining.Why worry about an incubator that doesn’t work? We have lots of ’em.Just throw that one in a storeroom and we’ll fix it later.

 As all this was happening there was another situation developing. Many of the Cuban doctors used their participation in the Barrio Adentro program as an escape mechanism.They came to Venezuela from Cuba where they earned very little and found that due to the terms agreed upon by the two governments they would earn even less. Can you say “indentured servitude?” Very quietly their ranks thinned (those without family members in Cuba as de facto hostages) as they would visit other South American countries and simply not return. What’s the big deal? When there’s 25,000 of ’em who cares if a few go missing? The sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day.


 To be continued……

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