The head of the Federacion Medica de Venezuela [Venezuelan Medical Association], Douglas Leon Natera, said during an interview with Union Radio that 13,000 doctors have left Venezuela in recent years, leaving the country’s medical system in a precarious position.
The exodus involves not only long-practising physicians, but also newly graduated ones. Natera’s figure echoes comments made by Emigdio Balda, the dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, who said that the while 200-250 new doctors graduate in the country each year, approximately 40% leave the country.
When asked by El Nacional why so many doctors leave the country, Aquiles Salas, the head of the UCV’s Luis Razetti Medical School, said:
The salary of a newly-graduate doctor does not allow them to maintain a family, so they don’t receive socio-economic incentives to keep working. In Venezuela, we are not competitive when it comes to salaries, because there are countries that offer vastly superior economic benefits [to doctors].
Maduro Expresses Continued Faith in Economic Model
Maduro took to Twitter today to express his continued faith in the country’s economic model. Maduro said:
We have to keep tying to walk down the path of a productive economy which, with its own engines, can sustain the development of the misiones [social programs].
The Venezuela economy is currently suffering through its most tumultuous period in years. The Banco Central de Venezuela has stopped publishing inflation data, leading many to fear the worst. Last year, the inflation rate in the country was 64%. The collapse of oil prices has created a severely restricted cash flow situation for the country, leading the government to drastically reduce the amount of foreign currency it allows its citizens to exchange per year.
Parlatino PSUV Representative Against New Measures
Ana Elisa Osorio, a deputy for the PSUV at the Parlatino [Latin American Parliament], spoke today on recent changes to the way Venezuela selects members to the body. Yesterday, the National Assembly approved a motion to have the representatives to the organization appointed instead of elected. The move drew the ire of opposition supporters, who called the new appointment system undemocratic
Today, Osorio lent her voice to the critics of the move, saying:
I don’t know why [the National Assembly did this]. However, from a judicial standpoint, this decision is not correct; [it’s] removing a right we obtained in 2000, during the Fifth Republic.
Osorio went further, calling the move an assault on the constitution Hugo Chavez helped create at the onset of his presidency and on human rights in general:
We in Venezuela took a step forward with the constituent [assembly of 1999], which decided to expand universal elections to National Assembly and Parlatino deputies.
Human rights are progressive, never regressive.
On Monday, once rumours of the imminent change began to spread, opposition deputies reacted with outrage at the perceived assault on the democratic right to elect representatives. Deputy Ismael Garcia called the move “authoritative”, while deputy Julio Montoya called it a “violation of the constitution”.