President Hugo Chavez threw a huge temper tantrum today, showing that he is on the edge and frustrated over the failure of his Government, as there are daily protests, road blocks and in the latests turn, looting of Government owned markets, including one in the town of Sabaneta where Hugo Cahvez was born and where one of his brothers is the current Mayor.
Chavez’ tantrum took the form of one of his nationwide obligatory TV addresses which lasted for quite a while, at least one hour, and which he devoted to blasting the media for their coverage of the problems, claiming they were simply an exaggeration and accusing them of carrying out a media war against him and his Government.
What is most interesting is that most of the tantrum appeared to be due to this headline in Ultimas Noticias, a newspaper which is considered to be pro-Chavez and whose Editor, Eleazar Diaz Rangel, has vigorously sided with the Chavez Government on most issues:
Headline: Health care in coma due to the lack of funds
Sub title: Hospitals in Caracas in a functional coma according to Luisana Melo
Chavez said that it was not true that the country’s health system was in a coma and using his classic hyperbole, “if it were not for the revolution, people would be dying of hunger”. Chavez seems to not be informed of the state of the public health system and for the first time in the country’s recent history, there are chronic shortages of the most basic staples from milk, to bread, to coffee, to meat.
The article in pro-Chavez paper Ultimas Noticias on health care actually interviews the Secretary for Public Health of the Metropolitan Mayors office, who says: “The health care system in Caracas finds itself currently in a situation of functional collapse…this is a reality we have to assume…we continue to have unacceptable health indexes…there are no professional (doctors) as the number being educated has gone down…91% of the budget is spent on salaries, we don’t have money even to buy a stethoscope”
Another pro-Chavez paper, El Mundo, was heavily criticized, together with El Unversal, which is considered to be opposition.
The Vice-President of the Venezuelan Medical Federation said after the President’s speech that Chavez knew that the health care system collapse and it is in coma “because President Chavez was not properly advised” when it created a parallel health care system (Barrio Adentro) and the primary care system is indeed collapsed and Chavez should visit hospitals and see how the facilities are not working and the system is indeed in a “coma”.
Chavez also invited singer Alejandro Sanz and Fito Paez to come and do a duet with him, saying it was false that he had not allowed Sanz to sing in Venezuela. Paez said Chavez was a Dictator for this and said even when Pinochet was in power in Chile he was allowed to sing there. Of course, it was not Chavez, but his underlings, that canceled twice Sanz’s concerts or did not rent out the Poliedro to allow him to hold a concert of the size required to make it profitable. Sanz has been very critical of Chavez in his concerts.
Clearly, the Venezuelan President is extremely sensitive to the constant criticism and protests and keeps acting as if he had recently assumed the Presidency, while the population is simply fed up with shortages and inflation and the fact that the revolution has been in power for nine years and has yet to deliver much to the population.