Venezuela’s Health Crisis Will Be Long Lasting

May 22, 2016

MaduroMarco TorresAristobulo  pa

Maduro with some of the soldiers during the military exercise and the Minister for Feeding, the Vice-President and the Minister of Industry and Commerce participate, some of them dressed in full military dress, even if they were never part of the Armed Forces.

As Maduro and some of his Minister participated this week in “military excercise” which mobilized half a million soldiers and civil militia members, at an estimated cost of US$ 20-30 million, you have to wonder what is going through these people’s minds.  While they spend money on this to make a show of force against a possible foreign invasion, the health crisis Venezuela is experiencing is something unheard of in the modern world.

And what is needed is resources, the same resources being used in these military exercizes and military equipment.

Wasn’t the revolution all about the “people”. Well, the people are dying and will feel the effect of lacks of medicines for a long time.

While we have all heard the calls for medicine xx or yy in Twitter or Facebook, what needs to be understood is that this is not only a crisis today, but something which will have an impact on the health of Venezuelans for years to come. The people above in the pictures, wasting their time and Venezuela’s money are not only ignoring those that die everyday due to the lack of medicines, but they are also sentencing many others to die in the future, due to the absence of the most basic medicines for health problems that can be easily controlled or managed.

These same people, are making daily decisions in Venezuela about which pharmaceutical companies can get limited foreign currency, which are based on their own ill conceived plans for the the development of the Venezuelan economy.

Today, Venezuelans find that even the most basic antibiotics can not be found. Why? Because it is not only that the foreign currency approved is limited, but that there is no health management concept involved in deciding which products get or not foreign currency.

Any rational plan would be based on guaranteeing the basic or essential medicines contained the the lists elaborated by the World Health Organization both for adults and children that can be found here. A lot of experience and thinking has gone into these lists, which are constantly being updated and modified. These are the most basic list of such essential products. However, as you peruse the list, you realize that you know for a fact that you have seen and checked reports that many of them are missing from Venezuela’s drugstores.

Take simple things, like disinfectants and antiseptics. There are a number of them which are only found in insufficient quantities thesedays, such that hospitals have to shut down areas and operating rooms, because there is no way to guarantee that patients can be held in these areas without disinfecting them first. This implies that operations are postponed, patients sent home and people simply die, because simple procedures that will prolong their life can not be provided safely.

Sometimes, not even the reagents needed to perform simple blood tests can be found and patients are turned away even before they can tell why it is they are not feeling well. Sometimes they have to wait weeks before they can have what is considered a simple exam in most, if not all, countries of the world.

And you may ask why if there is such a list, the Maduro Government does not use it? Simple, in the world of Chavismo, which ignores all knowledge and in which non-experts are put in charge of these complex problems, whether you get or not foreign currency has exclusively been determined by two factors in recent months 1) Are you importing raw materials to make the medicines or products in Venezuela? and 2) What products have significant shortages at this moment?

The problem with this criteria, is that not all medicines are produced in Venezuela. Thus, if for example, you ask to import the basic component of a drug against hypertension, which is basically all the final medicine contains, then you don’t get the foreign currency. Problem is, most modern drugs against hypertension are not produced in Venezuela. The result is that, for example, the pharmaceutical I use, has not been available in the country since March 2015, about 14 months ago.

Same with antibiotics. Some antibiotics are produced in Venezuela, but they tend to be old ones that people have developed resistance against, so, yes, you can buy antibiotics, but not necessarily those that may be needed for the particular infection you have.

Ironically, blood and blood plasma products, which used to be produced by Government run Quimbiotec, have not been produced since this plant was shut down last year, as the political battle for control of the plant destroyed the technical capabilities it had. Even in Aporrea, Chavistas call this a national shame, as these products are needed today more than ever due to the presence of Zika and the related Guillian Barre syndrome.

Thus, policies are simply determined using a misguided project for the manufacture of medicines and pharmaceuticals in Venezuela. And in the middle of the implementation of this, the Government discovers something is critically absent and then it stops approving foreign currency for all products, except for one particular sector. For example, last month, I am told the Government only approved foreign currency for manufacturers of contraceptives, which have been absent from drugstores for quite a few months. (Another LONG LASTING effect in the works!)

This haphazard way of doing things is not only killing people today, but will have long lasting effects over the Venezuelan population. As an example, take the same case of medicines against hypertension. Once you start taking one, you are supposed to never stop. Your cardiovascular system will cycle back to high blood pressure and you may have problems. Well, thousands of Venezuelans have had to reduce their dose or simply stop taking these products.

And there are many cases like this.

Thus, the Venezuelan health crisis will be long lasting. It is not only a matter of the damage it is doing today to those getting sick but are unable to do anything about it, but also the damage to those that were taking substances that controlled their illnesses, but can no longer do it.

The crime committed by these people, goes beyond wasting money in useless military exercises that seem more like a parody, but also in making it difficult for humanitarian aid to arrive in the country. While it has not refused yet any aid, none of it has supposedly reached the country because of all of the permits required. This is all done under the excuse that there is no humanitarian crisis to speak of.

When this nightmare is over, if ever, epidemiologists will come to Venezuela to study the effects of withdrawing modern medicine on the population for a certain period of time and see what can be learned from the irresponsible and criminal policies of Chavismo.

IMG_0479Playing hide and seek during military maneuvers. Hope the guys is not allergic, there are no antihistamines either.

53 Responses to “Venezuela’s Health Crisis Will Be Long Lasting”

  1. Billy Says:

    The soldier in the last picture looks awfully short! Does the army have a physical that a enlistee has to pass? Is the height limit one meter?

  2. Michael Says:

    This doesn’t really fit into the medicine shortage, but it certainly fits into the overall shortages in Venezuela.

    El Universal today said that since you can no longer buy wheat bread (or any bread for that matter), you can simply and easily make your own at home. They even gave a recipe and the first part was this. This is the GoogleEnglish translation from the Spanish:

    “To prepare you need to buy yeast in a bakery. It costs about 2,500 kilo’s room but pays enough. four cups of flour without leavening, a quarter cup of milk, 5 tablespoons of sugar, a teaspoon of salt, 60 grams of butter, two tablespoons of dry yeast, a quarter cup of hot (but not boiling) water are required and a deep, buttered mold.

    Except for the quarter cup of water, don’t these ingredients kind of make this a non-starter?

    • IslandCanuck Says:

      El Universal speaks with the government’s mouth.

      There is no sugar, flour, butter, yeast or milk but to them it’s all part of the propaganda.

    • Lee Kuan Yew Says:

      Soon El Universal bribed “journalists” will write that everyone should grow they own tomatoes and potatoes in their apartment balconies, and those who have farms should raise their own cows and pigs, and go out fishing in the river for dinner.

      • Alexis Says:

        Absolutely! And since you can’t find flour anywhere, everyone should grow also their own wheat. And keep a cow or two for milk. Heck, everyone could even make their own soap and clothing!

        After all, the whole industrial revolution was a product of evil capitalism. By opposition, the new socialism of the 21st century must be everyone catering to his own needs.

        • Lee Kuan Yew Says:

          Right. And since you spend the entire day growing potatoes and wheat, and fishing and milking your cows, let the more evolved Europeans or American run the businesses, build cars, run the computers, and fly into space. As long as you grow your own green peppers at home, and recycle baby diapers, everything in Kleptozuela will be ok. The economy will be on a roll from the balcony personal endeavors and agriculture. Lettuce and chickens are more difficult in Catia or Petare, but hey…

  3. Lee Kuan Yew Says:

    Gotta love the “hide and seek” exercises. A very important military skill for “el pueblo” to learn before the Imperio army attacks with invisible drones and bombs the heck out of Venezuela, before the land invasion. I bet thousands of soldiers and millions of people still believe stuff like that..

    • RK Says:

      The bulk of the military exercises are offensive in nature. The amphibious assault is an offensive military operation designed to take a hostile beach i.e. Guyana. They are wargaming Guyana and nobody noticed. Regarding Guyana, that is not on the immediate horizon. They are still short in some key equipment that is on order or in advanced discussions. They need two years to be there.

      • RK Says:

        There is a very important weapon system in discussion with India and Russia. India has to be on board. Therefore they need to have their bills paid up. That new system will run them say US$3 million per missile and a 90 missile package should be around US$300 million.

  4. JBLenoir Says:

    Wasn’t 500,000 participants. Real number was less than 20% of the 500K figure touted by Masburro and his costumed monkeys.

    • RK Says:

      JB, you are correct. The 500,000+ figure is inflated and given to give them numerical superiority over neighbor Colombia. The actual combined number of active duty military, militia and law enforcement is less than half or under 250,000.

  5. moses Says:

    Many medicines that are OTC (Off the Counter) in Venezuela may require a recipe outside, so that is another hurdle… You may contact a relative or friend who buys expensive medicine and ships via DHL or Fedex and risk the possibility that the package is opened in Venezuelan Customs and magically dissapears..

  6. Dr. Faustus Says:

    When Hugo Chavez was dying he turned a 75 million dollar Presidential A-319 aircraft into a flying hospital. At first he added “offensive weapons” to the aircraft, then he converted it to a flying oncology center. All to save his miserable, dying life. Now THAT plane is missing, gone. Whoosh. Disappeared. France? Maybe. No one knows. Confiscated by a creditor?

    According to the Herald Tribune:

    “The last thing they told me was that Chavez insisted on putting offensive capabilities, armament, inside the plane, post purchase and outside of factory specifications. That apparently damaged the plane.”


    According to Maduro, the plane was indeed damaged in one of its wings. A 2013 report from Spain’s El Pais from Caracas said the plane was converted, during Chavez last months on earth, into an “air ambulance”, for flights between Caracas and Cuba, where the late President was being treated for the aggressive cancer that eventually killed him in March 2013.

    The extra weight of becoming a flying oncology center could have also damaged the plane, the former Air Force pilot conceded. But he sticks to the armaments theory: Putting offensive capabilities on a luxury commercial jet damaged the equipment, perhaps beyond repair.”

    • Daveed Says:

      It still seems to be flying, since planespotters photographed the A319(S/N 1468) in France on 12 April 2016 :

      • RK Says:

        Daveed, in the link provided you can see the original livery, the white aircraft “el albino”, and the new livery. She was scrubbed white prior to returning to lessor. The new livery has the tricolor on the top of the tail, Chavez’ eyes on the tail, and Chavez’ signature on the door.

    • RK Says:

      Dr, the article by “Carlos Camacho” is false. Not innacurate but false. The A319CJ lease ran out in February and she was returned to lessor. They renewed the lease and repainted her. Not sure if the interior was upgraded. She’s now back with new livery featuring Chave’z “eyes” and “signature”

    • RK Says:

      When Maduro came into office he went to the Paris Air Show to meet with Airbus. The deal was a billion dollar package for two military transport aircraft and several military helicopters. A new Airbus VIP jet and a few regional jets for Conviasa where thrown in. The deal fell through on several grounds including veto of the military transports and lack of funding. The A319CJ was then sent to France for checkup where she spent the summer due to unpaid bills.

      • RK Says:

        It was during this time that we saw Maduro flying the Cubana VIP Ilyushin. The Airbus 319CJ FAV0001 was stuck in France due to maintenance and unpaid bills.

  7. Florian Geyer Says:

    Venezuela appears to truly have become “The Planet Of The Apes.” You know what you have to do.

  8. LT Says:

    Giordano Bruno ·
    Segun estos vinculos y en los EEUU en la decada de los 50s las muertes anuales por salud (infantil, tuberculosis, cancer, cardio, respiratorias) eran 1297 por cada 100 mil habitantes. In 2011 esas muertes anuales habian bajado a 680 por cada 100 mil habitantes. Una mejoria anual de 552 por cada 100 mil habitantes, debida casi exclusivamente al uso de antibioticos tras la 2a guerra mundial. Si hoy dia faltaran los antibioticos en EEUU se perderia la mejoria anual de 552 por cada 100 mil habitantes, y las muertes anuales subirian por una cantidad igual a: 552/100,000 x Poblacion = 1,789,136. Un efecto enorme dada la enorme poblacion de EEUU que es 324,118,787.
    Ahora bien, supongamos que en Venezuela, un pais pobre que solo podia comprar la mitad de los antibioticos que necesitaba, la mejoria correspondiente fue de solo la mitad, o sea, 276 por cada 100 mil habitantes. Entonces por falta de antibioticos, el empeoramiento correspondiente (de 276 por cada 100 mil habitantes) causa un aumento en las muertes anuales de 276/100,000 x Poblacion = 86,992.
    Cuando la poblacion de Venezuela en 1975 era de 12 millones ese efecto causado por la escasez de medicinas era menos de la mitad, digamos por el orden de 33,120 muertes anuales extras evitables, pero hoy dia la poblacion de 31,518,855 mas que duplica el efecto de la escasez de medicinas y mueren 86,992 anualmente que hubieran debido vivir.
    Asi que, si bien en epocas anteriores habia anualmente muchas muertes evitables que sucedieron por corrupcion ahora son MUCHISIMAS mas que antes. Un genocidio, pues, casi 90 mil personasque revientan de dolor, pudriendose en su propia pus y tumores mientras el gobierno REHUSA que vengan las medicinas regaladas de Caritas por puro odio a la Iglesia.

  9. Lee Kuan Yew Says:

    Why does a disguised neo-dictatorship spend so much money on military equipment? They want to stay in power and continue stealing, and avoid jail time, and losing their stolen fortunes.

    They have no option but to show force, apply force and intimidation, and scare “el pueblo”. It’s not like the Russians are invading Barlovento next week. Or the “imperio”. But MILLIONS of Venezuelans are so ignorant and/or so corrupt themselvelves, everywhere, at all levels, that they believe crap like this, or simply participate in the corruption.

  10. Lee Kuan Yew Says:

    “military excercise” which mobilized half a million soldiers and civil militia members, at an estimated cost of US$ 20-30 million, you have to wonder what is going through these people’s minds.”

    When will people get SIMPLE things like Galactic Corruption? Why go into convoluted theories about anything that happens in Vzla?

    What’s in in these people’s minds? $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ of course.

    What’s the purpose of such circuses, military or otherwise? Show fake power, and singn new recruit$$$$$$$.

    Vzla is so simple to understand. Lack of real education and massive corruption.

    The Military is behind this, why? Bank accounts, apartments, corruption.

    Half a million soldiers? Corruption, Massive Ignorance, lack of education and moral values. Same as another few millions from “el pueblo” who are are corrupt, complicit, and poorly educated. Simple as that.

  11. Limey Says:

    I love the top picture. The only person missing from it is Private Benjamin!

  12. Paul Says:

    20 to 30 million for these “Military Exercises” is chump change compared to the money spent on foreign military equipment. These guys are the worst criminal imaginable. I hope one day they suffer for their crimes against humanity.

  13. By the way, the problems within pdvsa are similar to what you describe in the medical field. It’s so bad I don’t even know where one could start to fix the mess they have made. But I assure you, I don’t believe Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world. And the longer Maduro or the Chavistas stay in power, the lower future reserves will be (current practices are devouring real reserve potential at a really high rate).

    • M Rubio Says:

      Just for the record, there’s a big difference between “reserves” and “recoverable reserves”. Venezuela may indeed have the largest reserves in the world. Unfortunately, Chavismo has steadily eroded the “recoverable” side of the ledger through mismanagement and loss of talent.

      When I worked the oilfield here many years ago, I had a young lady in my office who was head of human resources. That was her background, not petroleum. I ran into her years after I’d sold my company and when I asked what she was doing these days she told me she was working for PDVSA as head of perforating! If I had false teeth, I’d have dropped them.

      PDVSA, as you all know, is now mostly a socialist jobs program and no longer a true exploration and production company.

      • Boludo Tejano Says:

        Your story of the human resources person becoming head of perforating is an excellent example of the transformation of PDVSA into a jobs program and cash cow for Chavista social programs – both in and out of PDVSA.

  14. Jean MIchel Says:

    Niggling, surely, as it makes no change to the predicament Venezuelans face, but bacteriaes build up resistance to antibiotics (through mutations), not people.

    • Dean A Nash Says:

      And a very important part of those mutations is when people don’t finish a course of antibiotics. Or, they stretch out their supply of antibiotics, rather than taking the medicine as prescribed. (In Venezuela, as with many other poor countries, antibiotics have been widely available over the counter, so there are many half-dosages available in many medicine cabinets. (Half a dose is much worse for society than no dose.)

  15. Dean A Nash Says:

    You could have entitled the post Long-Term Consequences and rolled in EDUCATION, INFRASTRUCTURE, OIL EXTRACTION, AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION (for starters).

    Unless we all live to be at least 100, Venezuela as we knew her is finished. R.I.P.

    If you still have the chance, flee, by any means possible, to basically anywhere else. Hell, Cuba will shortly be better than VZ.

  16. Glenn Says:

    About the first photo, does anyone know if those are real guns and if they have ammunition? That’s a frightening thought.

    • Ira Says:

      Those eyeglasses are their secret weapon:

      The enemy will die laughing,

    • Antonio Says:

      If they were real guns the criminals would have killed them to get the guns. Don’t worry, we are safe.

    • RK Says:

      Glenn, real guns. They look like FN FALs. No ammo. Ammo is not issued for this type of event. A very heavy rifle for those ladies… they would not be able to field very effectively.

  17. robhmcbride Says:

    After meetung you several years ago, Miguel Octavio, I have followed you and your analysis of the critical situation in Venezuela.

    Since moving to Venezuela in 1992, I too have watched with curiosity and wonder as several governments have struggled o keep the noble people of this wonderful country afloat.

    Thanks for your valuable time and insight into the troubles, which for those who do not live here, are difficult to imagine, much less understand.

  18. eduardorivero Says:

    Carnaval en Mayo?

    Sent from my iPhone


  19. shrilly clinton Says:

    sounds more and more like an episode from The Walking Dead

  20. M Rubio Says:

    I’ve not heard anything for the longest time on the Cuban doctors in the barrios. Anyone have any updates. Are they still there? Do they have medicines to prescribe to the patients they see?

    BTW, the local pharmacy is basically bare, just like the chinese markets these days.

    Tomorrow I’ll make the rounds of the local open-air market to see what’s offered for sale. Week by week it’s getting smaller.

    Revolution! LOL

    • Roger Says:

      M is the flat yuca bread still available at the farmers markets? Love that stuff!

      • M Rubio Says:

        Roger, it’s still available though scarce at. I buy from several local producers, 200-300 tortas at a time. Latest retail price is 550 bs per torta. The casabe I’ve seen at the chinese market is really small. Haven’t checked their prices in a while.

    • IslandCanuck Says:

      Roger if you mean Casabe it is generally still available in stores.

  21. Roger Says:

    What I also suspect is that while Venezuela is providing Cuba oil and others all but free oil, when Venezuela asks for drugs which many produce, they say no problemo as long a you pay cash up front and in USD! Of course, El Stupido does not get it and his friends want their commissions too.
    At this point I feel a rant coming on so I will stop will try to get my head out of SciFy. Yes MO I have been to the Coop!

    • Boludo Tejano Says:

      According to the narratives of the Cuban regime, Cuba is an international leader in the production of medicinal drugs. Would there not be some sort of barter getting Cuban drugs into Venezuela?

    • IslandCanuck Says:

      Trade with Cuba is a one way street.
      We give – they take.

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