The Minister of Land and Agriculture, Jose Luis Boterran, appeared on a television show today to talk about the scarcity crisis the country is facing. Specifically, Boterran spoke on the situation regarding beef and poultry. Boterran said that while Venezuela counts with 16 million heads of cattle, Venezuelans just eat too much meat:
We eat a lot of meat. That’s not bad… within the field of nutrition, a balance of animal proteins is a positive thing.
Mystery Continues to Surround Maracay Hospital
Another death at the Central Hospital in Maracay today added fuel to speculations that a mystery disease is killing patients in the biggest hospital in Aragua state. The latest victim, 41 year of Franklin Fossi, died yesterday in the hospital, apparently of the same unknown disease that has claimed at least eight others this past week.
Franklin was admitted to hospital for an allegedly unrelated illness early last week. He was released on Tuesday, and by Wednesday he was “getting better”, according to Franklin’s brother, Yuly. On Thursday, however, things changed:
On Thursday he got worse, so we took him to the Hospital Central de Maracay, and he was put in isolation… nurses and doctors would back by wearing masks, covered up with boots and gloves.
Another one of Franklin’s brothers, Wilmer, said:
It all happened in a matter of days. We knew that he was coughing up blood and that he was covered in spots.
Once Franklin’s condition worsened, the hospital let his family know that they would need help collecting medicine in order to treat him. On Saturday night, a website for a local radio station ran an add asking area residents for medicine donations. That same night, Yuly said:
A doctor came out from having seen my brother. The only thing he said to us was to pray to God and to leave him in their care until we could find out what he was suffering from. But they never told us. They never told us what my brother had.
Yuly is certain that whatever killed his brother was picked up at the hospital, and he pointed out that Franklin only developed this condition after being admitted to the hospital last week:
My brother was healthy, and he got infected in the hospital. We need people to know about this, because governor Tareck el Aissami said that nothing’s going on here. We don’t know what’s going on.
Opposition Urges Gov’t Allow Press Access to Hospital
Freddy Guevara, the adjunct national coordinator of the Voluntad Popular opposition party, issued a press release calling on the national government to allow journalists access to the Hospital Central de Maracay, the alleged epicentre of an unknown infectious disease that has apparently killed at leas 9 people in the last week. Guevara said:
We cannot contribute to the alarm, but we can’t allow the government to continue to act irresponsibly on this matter. We demand that the President and the Ministry of Health, if nothing is truly happening, allow the media access to the hospitals… we demand a real compromise to demonstrate that we really have nothing to fear.
Violence Affects Large, Small Cities Alike
Caracas saw at least 53 homicides this past weekend. One of the victims was a police officer by the name of Wilmer Infante, who was found dead of a single gunshot wound to the head early this morning, his police-issue pistol stolen. Infante’s death makes 86 the number of police officers murdered in Caracas so far this year.
The Greater Caracas Area – with a population of 5 million people – isn’t unique in its violence. Ciudad Guayana, a city in the western part of the country of about a million people, has seen 36 homicides in the first two weeks of September, 29 of them in the past week alone.
Below, a picture of Caracas residents attending the Jazz Festival in El Hatillo, a neighbourhood of the city, this past weekend:
Today marked the first day of the 2014-2015 school year. Below, a video of Maduro singing a popular children’s song at a school somewhere in Carabobo state today: