We Cubans have a lot of great expressions. One of my favorites is “la bola pica y se extiende”. It means something like “its complicated” and there is no solution around the corner.
For months, our friends at Babalu have been telling you about the “Cubanization” of Venezuela. Let’s add one more episode to that very tragic and sad story.
“Driving the crisis in health care are the same forces that have left Venezuelans scrambling to find toilet paper, milk and automobile parts. Economists blame government mismanagement and currency controls set by the late President Hugo Chavez for inflation pushing 50 percent annually.
The government controls the dollars needed to buy medical supplies and has simply not made enough available.”
It gets worse, or “se pone peor la cosa”:
“Almost everything needed to mend and heal is in critically short supply: needles, syringes and paraffin used in biopsies to diagnose cancer; drugs to treat it; operating room equipment; X-ray film and imaging paper; blood and the reagents needed so it can be used for transfusions.
Last month, the government suspended organ donations and transplants. At least 70 percent of radiotherapy machines, precisely what Gonzalez will need once her tumor is removed, are now inoperable in a country with 19,000 cancer patients – meaning fewer than 5,000 can be treated, said Dr. Douglas Natera, president of the Venezuelan Medical Federation.
“Two months ago we asked the government to declare an emergency,” said Natera, whose doctors group is the country’s largest. “We got no response.”
The Associated Press sought comment from Health Minister Isabel Iturria but her press office did not respond to repeated interview requests.”
This is life in Venezuela. It is a daily grind of shortages, censorship and “Cubanization”.