Today is Doctor’s Day in Venezuela (or “Medical Staff Day”. Is it so anywhere else in the world? I’m not sure. Anyway, Happy Doctor’s Day!)
This morning, the President of the Medical Federation of Venezuela, Douglas Leon Natera, pointed out that “95% of hospitals have 5% of supplies”, and that:
Doctors and patients are the most affected. We’re in a kind of sandwich, and they’re holding us prisoner in the hospitals: the patients because they die and the doctors because we can’t exercise our profession and we don’t have the resources with which to guarantee the health and life of our patients.
[the government has] created a parallel health system: one with broken-down equipment and decadent hospitals but no supplies, and another run by Cubans with lots of resources, but that are [unseen, invisible]. 80% of those clinics in the “Barrio Adentro” [a government-run medical program that operates inside barrios] are closed, and those of us who want to work in our hospitals don’t have the resources to do so.
[today], all Venezuelan doctors who have graduated from recognized universities across the world are protesting and demand the government [give us the right] to work and exercise our profession.
Here are some shots of the demonstrations today undertaken by doctors and other medical staff from around the country.
A column of medical workers in Valencia:
The medical march stopped before a National Guard barricade in San Cristobal, Tachira:
A march in Coro, Falcon state:
And one in Ciudad Bolivar (I think – the accompanying text says it’s only from “Bolivar”), in Bolivar state. The text on the banner reads, “The Health guilds are joining the national protests which were started by the students and civil society [ie, “the people”]”):
Finally, an interesting shot of the demonstration today in Plaza Venezuela, as it meets the National Guard barricade. This demonstration was headed to the vice president’s office, but it was stopped:
And a couple of other shots:
Girls carrying a tree branch to put up (or take apart?) a barricade somewhere in Zulia state:
An a fairly chaotic scene at a barricade in San Cristobal, Tachira:
Something interesting came out of the marches today. In Caracas, the protesters managed an audience with the Vice-Minister of Health, who promised them a cadena (a mandated simultaneous broadcast across all television networks) on Wednesday, during which time they can explain to Venezuelans exactly what the problems with the medical system are.
For his part today, Maduro said that “we recognize that we have had some problems in the health sector”. He also created something called the “Corporation of State Doctors”, an organization whose function it will be to bear responsibility for the maintenance and repair of medical equipment. He also said:
I will not deny that in Venezuela there are problems in the health sector… we have been suffering from these great problems and we have not been able to rise above them. There it is, it kind of gets better, then it kind of gets worse.
[newly-graduated doctors have to learn] to do a lot with a little – and it’s not that we’re investing a little – [and] learn how to do more with less.
During the same speech, Maduro criticized the media, saying, “… the right-wing mass media prefers to show pictures of a crazy ‘Chucky’ burning a subway station [rather than one of] 2585 graduating [medical students].” I believe the reference there is to the demonic doll bent on murder from the 1980’s Child’s Play movie franchise.
Also during the same speech, Maduro proclaimed the coup to have been defeated. He said:
We’ve faced the coup, we’ve neutralized it, and we’ve already defeated it! Even though there are still small fires here and there. The terrorist coup has already been defeated!
We have not stopped working, but objectively we’ve had to focus on the coup, because it would be irresponsible for me – if there is a coup going on here, and a worldwide coup campaign [against Venezuela] – and we just pretend it’s not happening just go around the country.
He also said that to “counteract the international [media] campaign” against Venezuela, a magazine will be published called “Venezuela se respeta” (Respect Venezuela), which will include “the summary of the coup”. He said that the magazine will be “made in all languages to show to entire world”.
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