May 16, 2016

"I doubt that anywhere in the world, except in Cuba, there exists a better health system than this one."

Said President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela, where "Gloves and soap have vanished from some hospitals. Often, cancer medicines are found only on the black market. There is so little electricity that the government works only two days a week to save what energy is left. At the University of the Andes Hospital in the mountain city of Mérida, there was not enough water to wash blood from the operating table. Doctors preparing for surgery cleaned their hands with bottles of seltzer water. 'It is like something from the 19th century,' said Dr. Christian Pino, a surgeon at the hospital."

73 comments:

Rick said...

Many will see this as outrageous, but in fact any evaluation methodology which rates Cuba highly will also rate Venezuela highly.

Chuck said...

Paging Dr. Moore... Paging Dr. Michael Moore... The Wall Street Journal is holding on line one...

David Begley said...

Bernie should visit in September. A humanitarian visit. Bringing beer and toilet paper. And drugs from Valeant.

Clyde said...

The collapse that we are witnessing in Venezuela is simply socialist policies carried out to their logical conclusion.

jaydub said...

Venezuela has been feeling the Bern for a while, and now this is the dream of our own little socialists? What a tragedy for the people of Venezuela, and what an outrage for the US education system to allow such profound ignorance to fester in our schools.

Sebastian said...

Perfect honeymoon destination for any socialist Millennial.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Something something running out of other people's money.

It's tragic for the people, of course, a real tragedy in the sense that the misery is caused by people's actions (and isn't necessary). The other view is that this is what people there wanted--it's the system they supported and this is the inevitable outcome of such a system.

You can lie to yourselves and you can steal from your future, but math is math. No one in America will take a lesson from this, of course. Hey, how's Puerto Rico these days?

buwaya puti said...

What everyone in the region should get ready for-

Refugees, and a famine relief operation.

Venezuela will require a huge foreign exchange grant so her industries can restart and supply the country, but in the meantime there will be famine.

eric said...

Obama sounds like these guys.

It always amazes me when people say we should suffer the consequences of our elections so we will learn a lesson. No lessons will be learned. People will insist everything is roses even when surrounded by decay.

traditionalguy said...

The surprise is that the collapse took so long. The oil wealth was a buffer, like loot from conquest of neighbors has always been Communism's buffer. They are at stage 1 now which is a police state that kills innocent people as examples.

Communism is murder in action. It uses deliberate famines in place of bullets whenever possible to make it worse.

Obama worships that degree of power and admires those who can grab it from fools.

William said...

Who has caused more abject human misery: Chavez/Maduro or Pinochet? Whose family has amassed more hidden wealth? Will there be any movies made that dramatize the failures in Venezuela such such as have been made about Chile?........There will be no useful lessons learned from the example of Venezuela, but we must be on constant alert to see that Chile doesn't happen here.

Tommy Duncan said...

Clyde said:

The collapse that we are witnessing in Venezuela is simply socialist policies carried out to their logical conclusion.

Margaret Thatcher would note "they have run out of other people's money".

Milton Friedman: "If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there would be a shortage of sand."

jr565 said...

This is what happens when a govt pushes socialism and the money runs out. Sanders fans take note.

jr565 said...

"Venezuela has been feeling the Bern for a while, and now this is the dream of our own little socialists?"
They've felt the bern so bad they are in a hospital bad with 3rd degree burns over their whole body on life support. In a hospital in Venezuela.

Jim said...

The idea that marxism, and it's variants, is capable of producing the 'new man', 'new society' etc continues no matter how high the bodies are stacked.

Quaestor said...

In Cuba they have soap... I think.

David Begley said...

For those that don't know, Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world.

Big Mike said...

This is what happens when a govt pushes socialism and the money runs out. Sanders fans take note.

They won't. It's all the fault of those reactionaries who do not wholeheartedly join in the revolution.

The son of some good friends of ours is a Bernie organizer here in Virginia. If you push him hard enough, he's for Bernie because Bernie plans to cancel his college debts. The kid makes a good salary working in IT and picks up extra money playing with a band that gets gigs around town, but he resolutely refuses to pay off his student loans.

Quaestor said...

Every socialist myrmidon (the humanities departments are full of them) will explain Venezuela as an example of fake socialism. It's fake because Chavez was an ignorant and brutal soldier, a typical Latin American caudillo, rather than a true socialist. Then they'll point to Sweden as the example America should follow. Of course they ignore the fact that Sweden's ruling Social Democrats need the lunatic Greens to govern. And they ignore that thanks to the socialist-approved influx of undocumented Muslim migrants Sweden's next government will be a conservative/nationalist coalition.

Greg Hlatky said...

Socialism: always the same promises, always the same catastrophes, always the same excuses, always the same scapegoats.

holdfast said...

And yet in the face of this pending catastrophe, the special snowflakes on campus will continue to wail about Pinochet and the CIA. PINOCHET - a guy out of power for decades who killed what, maybe 3,000 people, most of whom utterly deserved it? Ah, but they were socialists and intellectuals, so their lives actually mattered to the folks on the left.

Bob Matthews said...

From the NYTs: "Venezuelan Hospitals so Clean, Gloves and Soap no Longer Required"

Paddy O said...

Chavez's daughter gets great medical care no doubt.

Socialism always hates the very poor it claims to support.

Quaestor said...

It's all the fault of those reactionaries who do not wholeheartedly join in the revolution.

Why is it that those reactionaries tend to be in the toilet paper business? Is there something inherently bourgeois about papier de toilette? If so the Secret Police would do well to start sniffing fingers.

Gusty Winds said...

I wonder if Pope Francis will be encouraging Argentina to take in Venezuelan refugees.

Rae said...

I notice that Sean Penn, Michael Moore, Oliver Stone and Danny Glover still don't live there.

bagoh20 said...

Look, the promises of socialism are just suggestions. That's how it works. You need to accept that and enjoy what you get or don't get. You certainly have no right to expect anyone to keep their promises. Always vote for the candidate with the biggest lies.

Gusty Winds said...

Kevin Spacey, Danny Glover, Sean Penn, and Oliver Stone were all big fans of Hugo Chavez. Wonder if they are sending money now.

Are Feel the Bern supporters at UW even aware of Venezuela? An oil exporter that went broke and now can't feed its people.

It's Animal Farm.

Wilbur said...

I note that Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba and El Salvador recalled their ambassadors to Brazil in protest against "the coup" against President Dilma ... provoking gales of laughter from the Brazilian public.

As one Brazilian said "Who is Cuba to tell us anything about democracy?"

bagoh20 said...

You never see any of those Hollywood assholes asked to explain their idiotic support of dictators after the foolishness of it is exposed to everyone. It just goes down the memory hole, and they do it all over again later with some new tyrant selling the same shit. Just once I would like some talk show host to ask one of them: "What the hell were you thinking?" and "Didn't you do that stupid shit before too?"

Rick said...

holdfast said...
And yet in the face of this pending catastrophe, the special snowflakes on campus will continue to wail about Pinochet and the CIA. PINOCHET - a guy out of power for decades who killed what, maybe 3,000 people, most of whom utterly deserved it?


Maybe this last is a step too far. You'll probably have more success convincing people if you rethink it.

Eustace Chilke said...

Maduro's healthcare is just fine. Ditto everything down to and including toilet paper. Maybe the Chavez girl got the biggest hunk of what wasn't nailed down but much remains to swell Maduro's offshore accounts before the end.

buwaya puti said...

You know, Venezuela is still selling oil, they have cash flow.
Food is cheap. Medical supplies and basic drugs that they are talking about are also cheap.
Even a socialist government should be able to keep everyone on corn and beans with that kind of money.
Empty shelves like they have says the cash us going somewhere else.

Michael K said...

"Who has caused more abject human misery: Chavez/Maduro or Pinochet?"

Pinochet made Chile the wealthiest country in South America. Chile has only modest natural resources.

Chavez made Venezuela the poorest when it had enormous natural wealth.

Chavez's daughter is the richest woman in South America with billions.

Pinochet is hated and was prosecuted by the leftist Spanish judge who tried to prevent his medical care in Britain.

Justice is blind, deaf and dumb,.

Michael K said...

"Venezuela is still selling oil,"

Chavez destroyed the oil industry by nationalizing it and threatening skilled workers. That was about the time Alberta was starting to develop the oil sands that Hillary and Obama hate. They all left for Alberta.

The rest of the oil industry was run like the Soviet Union.

damikesc said...

Venezuela didn't fail. They just didn't try Socialism hard enough or something.

They won't. It's all the fault of those reactionaries who do not wholeheartedly join in the revolution.

It's similar to reading NYT comments on a story about what a dumpster fire Obamacare is.

"It was a gift to the insurance industry" (true)

"Mean old Republicans wanted it to fail" (passing a bill with none of their input or support doesn't give them any reason to help make it succeed)

"We need a single payer solution" (because the same government that screwed the pooch here can be trusted with MORE control).

The issue is never that their ideas suck. It's just that they weren't tried with enough fervor and had some haters. Religions don't demand the lockstep conformity that Progressive policies do.

You never see any of those Hollywood assholes asked to explain their idiotic support of dictators after the foolishness of it is exposed to everyone. It just goes down the memory hole, and they do it all over again later with some new tyrant selling the same shit. Just once I would like some talk show host to ask one of them: "What the hell were you thinking?" and "Didn't you do that stupid shit before too?"

Don't they normally claim that they "had no idea how bad it was" or simply state that "nobody really supported that goon"?

You know, Venezuela is still selling oil, they have cash flow.
Food is cheap. Medical supplies and basic drugs that they are talking about are also cheap.
Even a socialist government should be able to keep everyone on corn and beans with that kind of money.
Empty shelves like they have says the cash us going somewhere else.


It's astonishing how few care about that. Sure, they make less on oil than they used to...but it's not like they have zero revenue.

buwaya puti said...

But it's still selling oil.
Production is down, but not gone, and still substantial amounts. 2.5Mbpd isn't nothing.
A rational, even marginally well-meaning government would use their cash and resources (like electric generation) to keep their primary industry going, and they have that.
But so far it seems that the whole thing is breaking down.
I suspect organized capital flight. If so the final breakdown is just around the corner.

damikesc said...

I suspect organized capital flight. If so the final breakdown is just around the corner.

Given that the state owns the largest companies in most fields, I think "theft" is a more appropriate term than capital flight.

It's going to get ugly there.

dbp said...

Even at $50/bbl, 2.5mb/d is only $45 billion/year. This is about the same as the gdp of South Dakota. The state has fewer than one million residents, while Venezuela has 30 million.

John said...

Buwaya said:

"Production is down, but not gone, and still substantial amounts. 2.5Mbpd isn't nothing."

My understanding is that it costs Venezuela about $50 per barrel to lift the oil and get it to a terminal.

If so, they are losing about $5/bbl on every one they sell. Some of that cost is none cash, depreciation and such so it is possible that they have a positive cash flow.

Or they may be selling at an actual cash loss to prevent losing their market in the event prices come back up.

Someone, David B?, mentioned that Venezuela has the biggest oil reserves in the world. I think they have enormous coal reserves as well. Up in the top 10 countries. (I may be confusing them with someone else.)

John Henry

glenn said...

Actually the Venezuelans are going back to the 19th Century. That's where they belong. Wish them well and let them go.

Sigivald said...

Everyone in Venezuela is guaranteed free healthcare, so Winning!

Actual results aren't what matters, after all.

buwaya said...

Checking on their production cost -

http://marketrealist.com/2016/01/crude-oils-total-cost-production-impacts-major-oil-producers/

Pretty interesting site, I will bookmark it.

Venezuela is given as $23.50, how that breaks down wrt marginal cost vs. fixed, etc. I don't know.
Venezuelan oil is low quality and has limited refiners, so it should sell at a discount, but there should still be a substantial net income.

They can keep all 30 million fed for @10B (@300/person) at commodity prices. Thats a lot of corn&beans. And they don't have to because Venezuela has plenty of extremely fertile farmland. This isn't Arabia. Even the Philippines feeds itself with 2/3 of what they have, even leaving out their immense pasture land.

Birkel said...

Anybody who reads the NYT for actual news - as apart from propaganda - must be incredibly skilled at reading between the lines. It would be easier to let the Mexican billionaire's paper of record go bankrupt of cash as it has for truth.

holdfast said...

@ Blogger Rick

I'm here to have fun, not persuade :)

And yeah, commie agitators definitely deserve to get it in the neck.

Thorley Winston said...

Kevin Spacey, Danny Glover, Sean Penn, and Oliver Stone were all big fans of Hugo Chavez. Wonder if they are sending money now.

Kevin Spacey doesn’t deserve to be lumped in with the others.

JPS said...

Thorley Winston,

Thanks for that link. I'd read it but forgotten, and am glad to be reminded.

I try not to care too much about what celebrities think, but they have a platform. Sometimes they use it for good, more often they use it poorly. Most of all, good on Spacey for being willing to reexamine a position, even fractionally. Seems like fewer and fewer of us are willing to do so.

I recall reading that after the ordeal of the Vietamese boat people had come to the world's attention, Joan Baez spoke out to acknowledge their plight and express sympathy for them. She also asked some of her fellow antiwar protestors to do likewise. Jane Fonda refused.

damikesc said...

I find it amusing that Maduro blames Americans, ignoring that if we wanted to hurt them, we'd just decline to refine their oil, since we're about the only ones who will do it.

William Chadwick said...

Statism always works out so well, doesn't it? Let's have more of that here!

n.n said...

America, subsidizing the dreams of second and third-world dictators, not limited to mass exodus (e.g. refugee crises) of unwanted or inconvenient men, women, and children.

Jane the Actuary said...

Here's my take: for all the schadenfreude about Venezuela's extreme situation, I think it's quite likely that Maduro and his party stay in power for the indefinite future, allowing for modest reforms that keep the people fed and get medicine into the country, but without any significant changes. After all, Castro's still in power. So's Mugabe, and that despite their hyperinflation, and further woes from "land reform."

Is Venezuela a different case because they have a (nominally) democratic system of government? Maybe, maybe not.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/janetheactuary/2016/05/is-it-the-end-of-the-line-for-maduro.html

Matt said...

The New York Times article has a photo of protestors. An old man is holding a sign that asks the Venezuelan Minister of Health (in Spanish): "You say that lemongrass cures Zika. What would you recommend for cancer?"

Tari said...

I saw a post on Facebook recently in which it was proclaimed that the REAL reason the Republicans were voting for Trump was because they were so very, very angry about Obama's "scandal free and wildly successful" presidency. If a person educated at a top 20 university and a top 5 business school (as the poster was) can believe this without pause, I'm sure Maduro is completely justified in believing that Venezuela's health system is one of the best in the world. It appears that no one does delusion quite like the Left.

Alex said...

I'm sure Sean Penn thinks the real issue is how the USA is screwing the 3rd world, not socialism. Socialism is just fine, what we need is America brought down to size.

Alex said...

Tari - Obama has > 50% approval rating. I personally have never been contacted for his approval poll, so I have to question the veracity of it.

Birches said...

The comments on that article are nauseating.

Michael K said...

"Even the Philippines feeds itself with 2/3 of what they have, even leaving out their immense pasture land."

They don't have a Socialist dictatorship.

That makes it all possible. That and machine guns.

Fabi said...

Let's be fair to the socialist losers -- it just wasn't implemented correctly in Venezuela. Next time!!

EDH said...

Now those capitalist pigs will pay for their crimes!

Anthony said...

The naysayers I've seen on Facebook put V's failure down to their single large industry dependence, not socialism.

Skookum John said...

I'm in favor of reviving McCarthyism. Socialists and Communists are as evil as Nazis and all decent people should treat them as such. They shouldn't be allowed to sweep the floors of our universities, much less teach there.

Fifty Cal said...

Black and white together, we shall overcome This IS success in a communist society. But of course the dictator has skimmed his BILLIONS off the top.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Doctors preparing for surgery cleaned their hands with bottles of seltzer water.

Not a completely ridiculous idea. Carbonated water kills bacteria. (and so does Coca Cola)

The constantly emerging bubbles literally destroy the bacteria.

Sammy Finkelman said...

These hospitals sound worse than what happened in Greece. But Greece had austerity.

Chris N said...

One more revolution!

AprilApple said...

Clooney is selling Hillary.

buwaya puti said...

Just finally read the article.
Just want to point out that third world hispitals meant for the lower classes are likely to be pretty horrible as a normal matter. I've been to quite a few that would be competitive in some ways with the stuff in that article. The only question I have is whether things were much better earlier over there. Considering what appears to be many years of no maintenance, I doubt it.

cyrus83 said...

Perhaps Maduro can be taken on a tour of a top-tier hospital in the US like Gorbachev's supermarket visit, while in turn some Hollywood A-listers can be sent to take a tour of Venezuela's rural hospitals and also get some surgery done there.

I wouldn't be too surprised if Maduro believes his own rhetoric, lots of people seem to have great difficulty these days believing their lying eyes.

IRIELADY said...

Please wake up. Cuba only has good healthcare for tourists and the Castro's. See here to get an idea https://panampost.com/belen-marty/2015/10/06/inside-the-cuban-hospitals-that-castro-doesnt-want-tourists-to-see/ & also here https://uk.pinterest.com/Incognitoxxx/cuba-el-infierno/

Rusty said...

Blogger Sammy Finkelman said...
Doctors preparing for surgery cleaned their hands with bottles of seltzer water.

Not a completely ridiculous idea. Carbonated water kills bacteria. (and so does Coca Cola)

The constantly emerging bubbles literally destroy the bacteria.


You maybe missed the part where they do this because it's the only option left for them. It isn't cutting edge medicine. It's barely a step up from; "Here. Bite on this stick. This is gonna hurt like hell."

damikesc said...

I'm in favor of reviving McCarthyism. Socialists and Communists are as evil as Nazis and all decent people should treat them as such. They shouldn't be allowed to sweep the floors of our universities, much less teach there.

I would question how somebody so devoid of a concept of cause and effect should be in a position to teach anybody much of anything.

Brando said...

What's especially sad is that pre-Chavez, Venezuela was on its way to being one of Latin America's success stories--plenty of oil, proximity to the North, and an opportunity to prosper with a diversified economy. Chavez (who many prominent American leftists should be forever shamed for supporting) crushed his opposition with violence and authoritarianism, wasted the boon from high oil prices, and drove out foreign investment. His toady is now dealing with the fallout (and of course implementing the same command-economy mush that got them there in the first place) and that country is a basket case even by Latin American standards.

Between that and Brazil, the region is a mess, and it didn't have to go that way.

Brando said...

"I'm in favor of reviving McCarthyism. Socialists and Communists are as evil as Nazis and all decent people should treat them as such. They shouldn't be allowed to sweep the floors of our universities, much less teach there."

I'm for bringing back anti-communism, but not wild unsupported accusations. McCarthy's recklessness gave the anti-communist movement a bad name at a time when it was important to make "communist" a dirty word equivalent to "Nazi".

Anyone claiming to be a communist in America (or favoring communist values) should be scorned out of polite company, just as if they said "the Nazis were right about the lesser races".