(Painting by Oswaldo Guayasamín, late 60’s “The Macuto (The Brute)”)
Case study 1: Mision Barrio Adentro
This one comes from the horses mouth, Hugo Chavez yesterday. The President declared health services to be in an emergency state. Somehow, someone has just discovered that 2,000 of the Barrio Adentro modules that are supposed to provide primary health care in the barrios, do not have a medical doctor. It’s hard to know how many there are total, because the target was to have around 9,000 by 2009, but if the existing ones did not have a doctor, you have to wonder whether the “new” modules were actually completed. But see, according to Hugo Chavez, 2,000 modules don;t even have a medical doctor.
I would like someone to explain to me how the “showcase” program of the revolution can be short its most basic supply: Doctors. How does someone running Barrio Adentro not notice that a large percentage of the modules hailed around the world as the revolution, manned by questionable Cuban doctors, a parallel system to the existing one, does not have Doctors of all things. We are not talking gauze, or needles, we are talking about the most important part of the system: It’s Doctors.
Somehow, feeble Fidel Castro had to tell Chavez (according to the master storyteller yesterday) that something was amiss and he would send replacements soon. Apparently, nobody, absolutely nobody in Venezuela had realized it, the Cuban Doctors left and that was it, they were empty. Minister of Health? Well, he did nt even go to the Unasur meeting on the needs for the swine flu virus shots of each country, how could he have time for knowing that Barrio Adentro had become Barrio Empty?
Imagine now, if this is the state of the showcase of the robolution, what is happening at the regular health care system that Chavez tried to bypass with Barrio Adentro, the many hospitals in Venezuela where people have, for example, operations, or give birth in, the same ones that Chavez seems to acre little about. Well, 65 of those hospitals received half a billion (Yes, 500,000,000 dollars, the revolution does not fool around) in 2005 and the National Assembly opened an investigation to find out why not a single ONE of those projects has been completed. (Corruption? Nahh!!! According to Russian the Comptroller)
Case Study 2: Merida has become an island
Merida is the capital city fo the State of the same name. It is a beautiful city, in a valley in the Andes with 5,000 meter high mountains surrounding it. Chavismo has run the State for the last 9 years, but somehow, Merida has become isolated as described by Milagros Socorro in today’s El Nacional (page A11, by susbscription).
Merida has become an island 15,000 feet above sea level. Let’s see ho you can get there:
1) By plane. Well, flights from Merida’s airport have been “suspended” since mid-2008 because there was an accident and the Chavista solution was to simply suspended all flights and make you go to El Vigia airport, a smaller airstrip two hours away.
Then there are roads. To go fro Merida to Caracas, you either go towards Valera (7), via Barquisimeto, or through Barinas/Barinitas (1 and 5), as shown below, Caracas is to the Northeast (top and right):
Well, there is bad news if you are in Merida. If you want to go through Valera, the Timotes bridge fell 7 months ago and the revolution has not gotten around to fixing it (Certainly not because Barrio Adentro was distracting it). The Barinitas road has been closed for almost three weeks (lots of rain, but it did rain in the horrible IVth. Republic, no?)
The solution is clear, you have to go back the other way (remember Merida is in the middle of the mountains, so this going “back” implies going down these mountains in the wrong direction). Once you have managed this, you go down towards Lake Maracaibo and you are on your way, some five to six hours added to your schedule. (As Milagros Socorro points out, you could all the way back to San Cristobal, near the border of Colombia, but that would be like going from an Francisco to New York with a stop in New Orleans)
Buy hey, maybe it is like the Barrio Adentro problem, nobody noticed the bridge fell and after all, people go from Caracas to Barinas, Chavez was born there, but who wants to go to Merida where people work hard, the weather is nice and there is one of the best universities in the country?
Case Study 3: LOE or Lee?
With all the concern about the new Education Law, someone in Government forgot to get the school buildings ready for opening last and next week. You see, apparently Minister Navarro was so busy ghostwriting the new Bill for the National Assembly and Chavez so busy getting the PSUV patrols to make sure schools opened, that some 40% of the schools facilities were not ready on time.
Surprise! The patrols had nothing to patrol, even if in most cases they did not even show up. (PSUV is looking into the latter, not the former, patrols not showing up is more serious than schools not being ready on time)
I guess that is why the revolution needs 40 years to succeed. Running a country for ten years, while controlling all powers and having an oil windfall in the middle is difficult when the few clever revolutionaries are busy turning themselves into millionaires, rather than helping out Chavez that has no clue as to what managing is all about. Thirty more years!