Wednesday, April 09, 2008

You don't have to be a kleptocracy to join OPEC, but it helps

Can you name the country? From the Boston Globe:

Palacios, the nation's largest public maternity hospital and once the nation's beacon of neonatal care, has fallen on hard times. Half of the anesthesiologists and pediatricians on staff two years ago have quit. Basic equipment such as respirators, ultrasound monitors, and incubators are either broken or scarce. Six of 12 birth rooms have been shut.
If only this poor, poor country had some steady source of income.

Problems in Venezuela's healthcare system did not materialize when Chávez took office. The system has been riven with corruption, mismanagement, and disorganization for decades. Tropical conditions have made the country ripe for a host of epidemics difficult for any government to control. An encephalitis outbreak in 1996 sickened 20,000 people.

But the system's current crisis comes as the country is awash in oil wealth, a windfall that critics say could be used to ease the problem. Instead, Chávez is building a parallel health program called "Barrio Adentro," which features 11,000 neighborhood clinics staffed mainly by Cuban doctors.
This, assuredly, is the fault of Estados Unidos for propping up Chavez with record oil prices. Damn you, Satan Bush!

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