The State of Healthcare in Venezuela

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April 21, 2019
Kremlin Response to Russiagate Hysteria
April 21, 2019

The State of Healthcare in Venezuela

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

Venezuela’s Constitution mandates free education to the highest levels, healthcare, and other vital social benefits.

Things operate as mandated despite the toll on government services by Trump regime sanctions – war by other means to eliminate them altogether, wanting Venezuela returned to its bad old days under repressive, exploitive rule.

Writer John McEvoy reported on Venezuela’s healthcare system, offering an on-the-ground assessment.

Trump regime and US media reports of a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela are hugely exaggerated – despite hard times caused by US sanctions war.

Reports of dozens of deaths in Venezuelan hospitals during blackout periods were bald-faced Big Lies. Generators automatically activated at these times, power outages having no effect on the country’s hospitals and clinics.

The NYT lied claiming “Maduro use(s) Cuban doctors to coerce Venezuelan voters,” adding:

“Venezuelan officials ordered Cuban doctors “to use…oxygen as a political weapon…(n)ot for medical emergencies…(as) part of a national strategy to compel patients to vote for the government.”

“…Maduro and his supporters…dangl(e) food before hungry voters, promising extra subsidies if he won.”

The Times manufactured fake news about Cuban doctors, providing a vital service to all Venezuelans in need free of charge, operating the same way in other countries where they’re sent.

Times reporting on Venezuela, Russia, Cuba, China, Syria, and other sovereign independent states is some of the most outrageous in memory – utter rubbish substituting for truth-telling.

McEvoy: “(S)tories…riddled with fabrications…receive mass exposure and create an emotionally provocative picture…consistently lack(ing) critical context regarding Venezuela’s economic situation.”

In response to US sanctions blocking imports of vital medicines, Russia and China are delivering them to the Bolivarian Republic, countering Washington’s sanctions war, its crimes against humanity.

Visiting a Venezuelan hospital during a blackout period, McEvoy said things were “functioning normally…(H)ospital staff were calmly attending to patients, and there seemed to be no shortage of beds. The hospital also had an underground cistern, used to supply water during shortages.”

According to one doctor, “we’ve had no hunger-related deaths.” Hospital coordinator Jose Maria Vargas said “(t)here’s no humanitarian crisis here.” 

“We have shortages of medicines but we’re coping. As you can see from the hospital, it’s not like how they’re showing it in the (US) media.”

According to another hospital coordinator Ornella Belisorio, “sabotage” on the country has taken its toll. US dark forces are “trying to sabotage what we’ve created for ourselves (including) quality healthcare, free for the people,” adding:

“We’re all suffering. There’s no doubt about that. And the economic blockade is largely to blame. We’re not able to import vital medicines.” 

“There are many laboratories in Venezuela that have had to close their doors because funds have been withdrawn.”

“We’re suffering just like Chile in 1973. We have beautiful things and ideas here: free health and education; and a flourishing community.” 

“That’s exactly what they want to destroy. Look at Libya, Syria, all those other countries the US destroyed. They want to do that here, too.”

At the same time, she said there’s no humanitarian crisis. “But that’s exactly what the (trump regime) want(s) to cause.

“Remember (its so-called) humanitarian aid story from February? That wasn’t humanitarian aid…They found wires and things that could be used to help (violent anti-Bolivarian) guarimbas.”

If the Trump regime’s coup succeeds, “(e)verything we achieved would be destroyed – privatized” – how things were before Chavez. 

“We had to pay for everything. They’d order you medicine and you’d have to pay. You were obliged to pay just to survive.”

“The opposition also wants (IMF funding). When that happens, the game’s over; health, education – everything.”

Venezuela’s health system is struggling but coping, aided by vital medicines from Russia and other countries.

Dr. Rebecca Martinez explained how repressive neoliberal years mistreated ordinary Venezuelans, saying “(p)ublic health hospitals experienced a shortage of supplies and resources, which in turn meant that the health of Venezuelans suffered,” adding:

“Working-class and poor women were conceptualized as intrinsically (inferior to) middle- and upper-class Venezuelans.”

“…IMF and World Bank austerity programs…include(d)  privatization of public enterprises like health clinics and a reduction of expenditures on social welfare projects.” 

Poor and disadvantaged Venezuelans suffered hugely until Chavez changed things.

Major media suppress how Venezuelans “benefited from healthcare” and other social programs. US sanctions are hugely damaging, ordinary people harmed most.

Dr. Amy Cooper explained that under Venezuela’s Barrio Adentro program, Venezuelans in the barrios had access to free health clinics for the first time, adding:

The hugely popular program “empowered people by structuring opportunities for historically marginalized Venezuelans to engage in self-care, community health activism, and professional medical training.” 

“Health programs operated alongside other Chavez-era social programs that, in spite of their imperfections, undoubtedly improved people’s material conditions and promoted a sense of empowerment and belonging.”

Privatized healthcare would be disastrous for ordinary Venezuelans, she stressed. Research she conducted showed pre-Chavez “neoliberal policies…exacerbated social inequalities, increased poverty, and restricted access to health care.”

“(B)arrio residents viewed state-guaranteed access to health care as one of the most important features of the country’s democracy.” 

“Neoliberalizing health care is also not a viable solution from a policy standpoint. We know that neoliberal health policies result in worse access to health care and worse health outcomes.”

Bolivarian social democracy under Chavez was transformational. Maduro carries his torch.

Republicans and undemocratic Dems want it extinguished, repressive neoliberal harshness replacing it.

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My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.