A Place To Die

We’ll get started with this week’s Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole segment in a bit but first…Pulitzer Center tells us that Venezuela has the only humanitarian crisis taking place in the Americas these days.

 Venezuela was acknowledged for it’s free and quality healthcare system in the 20th century with high epidemiological surveillance standards and was the first country to eliminate malaria (which has made a raging comeback under Chavismo and 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism).

 A series of restrictive public policies and government decisions deteriorated healthcare services. The country is incapable of responding to the ever-increasing number of patients.

 Note : In our Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole segments we dedicated an entire chapter to the collapse of healthcare and the determining factors. The key to the downfall of healthcare in Venezuela was something that should have been good for the Venezuelan people but the Chavistas turned it into an abomination.

 In short, Hugo Chavez’s “Barrio Adentro” (Inside The Barrio) program was supposed to bring better health services to poor neighborhoods and rural areas. It would have been a great thing if the Chavistas had used money to fund the initiative from the extended period of high oil prices and the unprecedented (and unnecessary) borrowing of billions of dollars (over $60 billion) from China…They didn’t!

 Instead of using the abundant oil revenue they diverted funding for the existing hospitals to fund all the newly established clinics and when oil prices dropped and China refused to lend them any more money the whole system collapsed, new facilities, established hospitals, everything. We’ll leave the discussion of what happened to all that oil money and all that money from China for another time (Hint: the Chavistas stole it!).

 One of the consequences of Chavismo’s mismanagement can be reflected in hospital assistance with a 47% shortage of supplies for emergency services and a 72% shortage of operating room supplies, according to the National Hospital Survey for the first half of 2022.

 Venezuelans do not have preventive, public, and free healthcare services. The article summed it up in their last paragraph, referring to the “myth of public and free healthcare in Venezuela”…Or as my wife, who is Venezuelan put it, “In Venezuela you go to the hospital to die”.

 Then we have The News reporting that Venezuela has offered to supply crude oil to Pakistan as part of efforts to develop cooperation in the energy sector, according to an official communication from the Pakistani envoy in Venezuela

 The correspondence disclosed “Despite the international sanctions against Venezuela, the country has the ways and means to export oil to Pakistan”. Representatives of Pakistan’s oil sector told officials of the Petroleum Division to seek specifications of the crude oil offered by Venezuela to determine whether the local refineries have the capacity to process this type of crude. They asked if any light crude was available in order to move forward on this offer. Pakistan is also in talks with Russia to import crude.

 Two quick things : First, I can’t speak to the specifications of Russian crude but Venezuela crude is almost all either heavy or extra-heavy so it will not be suitable for processing in Pakistan’s refineries.

 Second, it appears the Pakistanis have no issue making deals with authoritarian regimes that routinely commit Human Rights violations and possible crimes against humanity….then again, the Biden administration just did a deal with Maduro and the Chavistas.

 Now, let’s head Down The Rabbit Hole…

 Chapter 15/ Op Ed…

 There may be no right more misunderstood than the 2nd Amendment. I hear arguments about gun control, both pro and con, all the time, especially after a mass shooting. “I have the right to protect my family from intruders” or “There are more mass shootings in the US than anywhere else in the world” and so on, and on, and on. I understand where both sides are coming from, especially emotionally, but the most important issue regarding gun control is rarely mentioned…so I’ll mention it here as the situation in Venezuela is the perfect context for the discussion.

 Let me begin by saying I don’t own a gun or hunt or exhibit any of the behavior normally associated with someone that is pro- 2nd Amendment. I am, however, a life-long fan of history. I feel it’s important to take a good hard look at history, both in a general sense and personally. If I know and understand both the facts and the context I can get a grasp of what happened and why it happened, provided I maintain my objectivity, fully knowing that nobody is truly objective. Did you catch that? Sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself…Trying to prove that I’m even objective about my objectivity! Anyway…the point is to try and benefit from the successes of the past and avoid repeating the mistakes, again both in a general sense and on a personal level. It’s not easy and can be quite uncomfortable but it’s necessary.

 That said, the question is…Why do we have a 2nd Amendment? What were they thinking about when they came up with the idea and is it still applicable today? “The right to keep and bear arms…” Having read quite a bit about the period leading up to the Revolutionary War, the war itself, and the period after, when the documents upon which our nation was founded were written, as well as the cast of characters involved, I think I have somewhat of an understanding. I at least know enough to know what I don’t know. I love statements like that. It’s one of those “I may not have the answers but at least I’m in touch with the questions” kinda’ deals.

 In my humble (?) opinion, the founding fathers weren’t all that much concerned with personal protection when they came up with the idea of guaranteed rights to gun ownership. In fact, it may not have been a factor at all, simply a by-product of the real reason to insure the population had (has) access to firearms. And that reason was (is) not to protect ourselves from each other but to protect ourselves collectively from the government we created.

 The founding fathers were great men, great thinkers, forward thinkers. The “American Experiment” is the greatest success in the history of government. The men who drafted it’s foundational documents seemed to have an understanding of a basic truth, no one knows what the future will bring and governments seem to transform themselves based on the lowest common denominator.Ben Franklin’s response to the question of what type of government they had set up for us was perfect, “A constitutional republic…if you can keep it”. The way they set things up all seem to serve the same purpose, to protect the government (us) from itself (ourselves).

 More tomorrow….

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