Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Lapi, Chavez and private health care

In this glorious ever so more bolibanana revolution all things seem inextricably linked. The reason is that Chavez cannot tolerate that the spotlight is taken away from him and when that happens he always burps something out that is sure to send the country into a newer chaotic spasm since Chavez underlings are unable to discern what is a mere dissimulated form of swearing and what might be actually a state policy. Not wanting to take any chances, any uttering of Chavez is thus taken as a state policy announcement.

The escape of ex governor Lapi (we think, we hope, it is an escape as the guy has not shown sign of been alive since he supposedly escaped jail) has sent the press into a holiday week feeding frenzy since they could not have hoped for a better bonus to sell newspaper at a time when Venezuelans tend to be away of it all. An irritable Chavez has been silent about all the security and jail and justice implications that are behind that jail break (for these implications you can read any of the preceding 5 posts...). So what did Chavez announce yesterday? That he would nationalize private health care. That is, no more private medicine in Venezuela. Of course he gets two bonuses out of it, he gets back into the news from which he had been semi erased for the past two days and he also tries to soften the blow of the announcement by semi hiding it in a holy week holiday distraction and the Lapi escape.

But first let's us deal with the policy implied behind Chavez words. The Barrio Adentro mision is widely reported floundering, even with the help of Cubans who are rumored to be defecting in larger numbers. And Venezuelan state hospitals who showed some improvement last year courtesy of the electoral campaign are again showing signs of near collapse. Since this Chavez administration is unable to run a partially efficient health system it is starting to look at the second best: take away private clinics and give them to the people. That way we will all end up with bad medical care whereas the regime dignitaries will save a clinic for their own usage just as Castro does in Cuba. An amusing detail about these revolutionaries of the people is that you never see them seeking medical treatment in a Barrio Adentro facility, however you hear all the time reports of private clinic rooms or even aisles, barred form general public access by a few body guards while their boss or a boss relatives undergo some treatment.

Of course this will fail. Venezuelans practitioners in private care have usually specializations at overseas hospitals and clinics and most simply will leave the country if the state takes over private medicine. This state will eventually find itself in a few years with an assorted set of run down hospitals and clinics, ill staffed, ill provided, just as in Cuba where barely primary care medicine is worth mentioning these days, excepting the show clinics such as the ones for mision milagro (have you ever observed that the only mision for a particular health condition is mision milagro, for its publicity value in restoring eye sight to people with cataracts, just as in old times the king was supposed to cure you from the croup by just touching you?)

But I digress, let's go back to Chavez announcement. His justification is that private clinics keep increasing their prices whereas the inflation of March was a negative 0.7%. A negative 0.7% ONLY? Let's start by that, after reducing sales taxes by 3% last month the government gets only a 0.7% deflation? Does that mean that the real inflation was in fact 2.3% and we will start feeling it in the next months?

But the implications of this announcement must be looked further back. Chavez is aware that his folks are using private medicine. Chavez is aware that the costs increase in clinics are also due to his erratic polices, in particular the ones due to currency control exchange which has created a big mess in medication and medical equipment provision while medics must fight the inflation that affect their pocket and their staff pockets. So what does Chavez do? He calls for a ceremony to highlight the 0.7% deflation (the nerve!) and he kills one of the messengers of his erratic policies: private health care. But the chutzpah of Chavez goes beyond what he has already got us used to:
Private clinic that does not follow the regulation that we will do, if we need to regulate, we will have to nationalize it, because we are obliged to protect all the people, including the middle class and also the rich.
Chavez protecting the rich now! I have seen it all! Or have I? Whose rich are we talking about here? The ones from the government who use their body guards to shield them when they are in private clinics and who think that they are paying too much? I would not be surprised! These people are so ill educated, and so arrogant that maybe they complained to Chavez about the high prices of private clinics. Meanwhile as an admission of the failure of Barrio Adentro II and more to attract the middle class, Chavez could not have done better! Here, an idea for you Hugo: get Barrio Adentro to work for real and see how the middle class will flock there. Did that truly revolutionary idea occurred to you and the jerks that surround you?

But for Chavez there is a real problem still going on. His -07% fake deflation is not going to have the psychological impact he hoped for. After all other news keep coming up such as the unwillingness of people to obey the booze restrictions of this holiday week, and the Lapi case. Right now we are at 59 arrests and more than 30 searches, something never heard of, in particular during the numerous kidnapping cases in Yaracuy that "lalo" gimenez cannot be bothered with. But Lapi is of course another matter.......... Who cares that civilians are held in ransom when Lapi cannot be held in jail? Maybe gimenez should hear form Chavez that he also must defend "the middle class and also the rich". Maybe some of those 2000 cops searching for Lapi could be used, after he is captured back, to decrease the crime rate of Yaracuy where this blogger has been a repeat victim?

And so the show continues with now talk of political exile for Lapi (who has the credentials to get one even from the useless OAS) or from the increasing count of people who are escaping jail in Venezuela where corruption and incredible conditions make one wonder how come more people are not running away....

Stay tuned, it is going to get even better, if possible!

-The end-

PS1: pic from yesterday's Tal Cual

PS2: The brother of Lapi tells us that he has not heard from his brother since this one went on missing. He also states that he is sure that his brother would surrender again if he were guaranteed his safety.

Meanwhile in an ironic turn of events, Giovanni Vasquez, the star witness of the Anderson case has been arrested with a fake Security Police ID and weapons. For memory: that Giovanni Vasquez is the now utterly discredited character upon which all the fake investigations and indictment on the Anderson case rest. We did not know where that paid for witness was hanging around since he disappeared from public scrutiny but now we know. Meanwhile some of the people that were incriminated upon his false testimony have still not been freed of their fake charges (such as Patricia Poleo still in exile). And then they want Lapi to surrender? So they can produce a sequel to Giovanni Vasquez against him? So that the new witness discredit will not result anyway in liberation of Lapi?

Meanwhile the attorney general Rodriguez has still not resigned for unbelievable incompetency and outmost lies and the Anderson case is still without solution in spite of repeated announcement to this respect. Truly, an astounding spectacle!

Gimme a break!!!!!

PS 3: Feathers made an interesting connection between health care and slaughterhouse, here.

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