The Wages of Socialism
Health Care Hell in Venezuela

Another testament to the miracles of socialism: The health care crisis in Venezuela’s hospitals is comparable to what you might see in a war zone, according to a shocking new investigative reportThe Times of London paints a horrifying picture of the country’s medical system: thousands of doctors fleeing the country; doctors pre-emptively performing mastectomies because they don’t have the chemotherapy drugs they would need to treat breast cancer; half of the country’s hospital beds being unusable; lack of spare parts for sensitive machines, leading to closed operating theaters. More:

Once a month, Veronica Rosales and her daughter Francisca, 11, make the eight-hour bus ride to Caracas from El Tigre, their home town, in the east of the country; a journey made all the more gruelling by the fact that Francisca has a brain tumour. Only here can she hope to find the treatment she needs, and only then thanks to a charity that donates medicines for children.

“Nothing is working in El Tigre,” Ms Rosales said. “There’s no medicine, no chemotherapy, nothing.” […]

“It’s very hard to explain to patients,” said José Manuel Olivares, a cancer specialist at University Hospital, one of the capital’s leading treatment centres. “I’ve seen people with stage 1 cancer of the larynx, which is highly treatable, have to go away and come back months later with stage 4 cancer, which is much less curable. I’ve seen people crying because they can’t find money for their medicine.” […]

The Times quotes Human Rights Watch: “We have rarely seen access to essential medicines deteriorate as quickly as it has in Venezuela except in war zones.” One measure of how bad things have gotten that’s not included in this report: A group of young Palestinians offered scholarships to study medicine in Venezuela recently saw its numbers drop by one-third, as some participants in the exchange preferred the strife-torn West Bank and Gaza Strip to staying on scholarship in Venezuela.

Cubans and their American apologists have often blamed the island’s problems on the U.S. embargo and the absence of domestic sources of oil. Venezuela has no embargo and has open trading relations with the U.S. The plain truth: It’s socialism that wrecks countries, and it has been wrecking them in mostly the same way for more than a hundred years.

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