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realclearworld

Reports from Cuba’s Venezuela: In the land of silicone socialism

By Juan Cristobal Nagel in Caracas Chronicles:

In the land of silicone socialism

OreosI’m with my cousin Elena.

We’re in a Maracaibo supermarket. Half an hour earlier they had announced the arrival of cooking oil – two bottles per person – and the line at the cashiers had collapsed the place. The cooking oil was gone.

We’re stuck in the middle of a crowd, right in front of a shelf stocked top to bottom with Oreo cookies, next to the Coca Colas, which are also abundant.

“Things are crazy in this country,” she tells me, as if it wasn’t obvious already. “The other day I went to get a mammogram, and the lady doing my paperwork gave me an appointment for a mammogram with breast implants.”

“Hmm …” I say, “you need to specify whether or not you have implants when you go get a mammogram?” You learn something new every day, I thought.

“Oh yeah,” she says. “I had to ask her to change it. Funny thing … the lady didn’t even know the code on the computer for ‘mammogram without implants.’ She had to call her co-worker, ‘Yolimar,’ she yelled across the room, ‘do you knwo the code for mammogram without implants? This lady doesn’t have implants!’”

Suddenly, in the middle of the Oreos, the people waiting to buy their oil two apiece, and the story about the missing mammogram code, I realize how great it is to be home.

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