Today marks the 205th anniversary of the signing of the Venezuelan declaration of Independence from Spanish rule. The day is celebrated as Venezuela’s national holiday, and is typically commemorated with military parades in Caracas.
Speaking at the parade in the Paseo Los Proceres in Caracas earlier today, Maduro spoke on what he considers to be the similarities between what Simon Bolivar and his band of revolutionaries faced in 1811, and those he faces today. In particular, Maduro resented the work of the National Assembly, saying:
They [imperialist powers] don’t know our history and our people when the vultures at the National Assembly call for intervention. These supposed guardians and foreign masters are trying to destroy the most beautiful things we’ve built over the last 205 years.
During the speech – which Maduro gave at the conclusion of the military parade – Maduro called for a strengthening of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces, and said that the army was “full of morals, ideas, and love”. Maduro said:
Military power should continue to increase for independence [sic], to protect the people and the homeland (…) an independent republic needs an increasingly powerful, bigger military power.
Don’t pick on the soldiers, don’t pick on the sergeants, don’t pick on the captains: pick on me, because I’m the commander in chief of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces!
Maduro ended his speech by saying:
Venezuela is on her feet, Venezuela is here, and Venezuela will be victorious in 2016. Sooner rather and later, victory over these masters and overseers will come.
Below, some images from today’s military parade in the Paseo Los Proceres in Caracas:
The man in the picture below is Divisional General Alexis Jose Rodriguez Cabello, the head of the Universidad Military Bolivariana. He headed today’s parade:
Below, a video showing two fighter jets flying over the Paseo Los Proceres:
Venezuelan commandos on parade:
Camera Crew Records Abandon At Catia Hospital
Journalists from a Spanish website called Sin Filtros managed to record hidden footage inside the Jose Gregorio Hernandez Hospital in Caracas, also known as “Magallanes de Catia”. The footage shows the hospital in a state of almost complete abandon, with entire floors of the building inoperative and in various states of decay.
Below, the video along with my translation (Note: The video features quick splicing of audio that may not have necessarily been recorded at the same time. For the sake of simplicity, I’ve combined these audio sections into singular units as much as possible to maintain a sense of coherence throughout the translation):
Staff in Purple Shirt: This is a pigeon nest here. Feathers and shit. Look, it’s right there. Pretending that people come here to get better is complicated.
Cameraman: It looks like a horror movie. Shit! Look at these washrooms!
Narrator: The crisis in Venezuela is also affecting its healthcare system. On top of a shortage of medicine we can add the poor maintenance of its hospitals. We went inside the Magallanes de Catia hospital in Caracas. Its workers are very worried about the critical state in which the hospital finds itself. We are the first media outlet to enter the hospital with a hidden camera. We witnessed the painful reality there.
Staff in Purple (0:50): This is the best we can count on right now. We have to scream like Tarzan. [Yelling into elevator shaft: Ground floor!] That’s how we have to call because that’s how everyone does it.
Cameraman: Ah – because you’re missing the button panel.
Woman in Elevator: Which floor?
Staff in Purple Shirt: Sixth floor, my dear. Eighth floor, please.
Cameraman: [To Woman in Elevator]: You must have really good hearing to hear the yells.
Woman in Elevator: Yes, yes.
Narrator (1:15): Our first stop is the eighth floor. We make a stop at an impossible emergency exit, which is blocked by rubble. If there’s a fire, you have to get out this way by climbing over all of this stuff.
Narrator (1:30): We continued on to witness the poor state of the washroom, which are in a state of constant disrepair. And it smells really bad.
There are entire wings that are locked off which hold old and new materials. At one point, this was pediatrics: today, it’s not working. It looks like a horror movie, now?
Staff in Purple Shirt (1:53): This is the re-hydration area. [Pointing to locked-off wing] Those are new beds, and they’ve left them there, abandoned.
Narrator (2:07): We went into another bathroom, this time in an empty room. We could not believe the lack of hygiene.
A patient told us that we has gone days without being able to use his bathroom.
Patient (2:19): The bathroom [is contaminated]. The bathroom is contaminated.
Cameraman: [To staff] You’re really interested in people finding out about this so that it can be solved, right?
Staff off-screen: Of course.
Cameraman: [To staff] And how long as this hospital been in this situation?
Staff off-screen: About eight or nine years.
Cameraman: [To staff] So, not even in the years of Chavez and expensive oil…?
Staff off-screen: That’s what I’m saying. The directors who come here, all they do is steal money. They take the money with them. They steal it.
Narrator (2:45): They tell us that the bathrooms in the upper floors are leaking directly into the maternity ward. 85% of the building is out-of-service. Only 15% is operational.
Here is another room being used as warehouse, and the bathroom as infectious zones.
Cameraman (3:16): [To staff] The people who are running the hospital now, do they get in touch with you to ask for information about this situation?
Staff off-screen: No, no. They don’t like this. They don’t want this to come out into the light.
Narrator (3:25): We cannot believe that pigeons have made a nest in this room. We witnessed how the staff here took the critical status of the hospital as normal.
Cameraman (3:35): [Showing the medical waste section] Medical waste, [just throwing in there] like this?
Man off-screen: Take a look at what’s left [of the medical waste section].
Cameraman: I’m scared to go in there! What do they do with the waste now?
Staff in Tan Shirt: They take it away in bags and put it over there.
Narrator (4:00): An ambulance, unused for months, stands as testament to this abandon.
Staff in tan shirt: They’ve never fixed [this ambulance] up.
Cameraman: [To Staff in tan shirt] Do they make things easy for you to help keep you up-to-date with maintenance?
Staff in Tan Shirt: Nothing. Nothing. We’re sitting here cumpliendo horario [literally, “because we’re scheduled to be here”. In other words, the workers are idle; they show up to work only because they’re told to be at work at certain times]. There’s nothing here. There are no materials. There’s nothing.
Cameraman: What if you have to change a window or a light bulb?
Staff in Tan Shirt: Nothing.
Narrator (4:27): We went down to the basement, the very core of the hospital. There is no electricity, so we used our phones as flashlights. The water blocks our path.
Man off-screen: There’s a hole there. This is so dangerous. Anyone could get killed down here.
Narrator (4:48): Now we’re heading to the morgue.
Is [the morgue] working?
Staff in Tan Shirt: I don’t know what to tell you. [Woman off-screen] Yeah, it’s working because the lights are on.
Cameraman: Wow! The smell in here is unbearable. There’s running water here.
Narrator: We find the barking of a dog in the morgue disconcerting. What’s more disconcerting is the explanation.
Staff in Tan Shirt: That dog belongs to one of the people who sleeps here [pointing to morgue].
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