Not only has Venezuelan President Nicolas Madura’s socialist policies starved people to death, but he has also brought back malaria.
The New York Times has reported that desperate times have forced people to seek out gold in watery mines infested with mosquitos, which has led to the malaria resurgence because socialism ruined the economy and the country lacks medicine.
Ironically, Venezuela became the first country “certified by the the World Health Organization for eradicating malaria in its most populated areas, beating the United States and other developed countries to that milestone in 1961.” WHO reported that deaths by malaria plummeted “by 60 percent in places with malaria in recent years.”
But now Venezuela has seen a 72% rise in malaria in the first six months of 2016:
In the first six months of the year, malaria cases rose 72 percent, to a total of 125,000, according to the figures. The disease cut a wide path through the country, with cases present in more than half of its 23 states. And among the malaria strains present here is Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes the most fatal form of the disease.
“It is a situation of national shame,” said Dr. José Oletta, a former Venezuelan health minister who lives in the capital, Caracas, where malaria cases are now appearing, too. “I was seeing this kind of thing when I was a medical student a half-century ago. It hurts me. The disease had disappeared.”
Jorge Moreno, a mosquito expert in Venezuela, said more than 70,000 people have ventured into these mines, only to receive mosquito bites and the disease:
Then, with the disease in their blood, they return home to Venezuela’s cities. But because of the economic collapse, there is often no medicine and little fumigation to prevent mosquitoes there from biting them and passing malaria to others, sickening tens of thousands more people and leaving entire towns desperate for help.
The economic breakdown has “triggered a great migration in Venezuela, and right behind it is the spread of malaria,” said Dr. Moreno, a researcher at a state-run laboratory in the mining region. “With this breakdown comes a disease that is cooked in the same pot.”
Unfortunately, it takes no time for the disease to spread. In Ciudad Guayana, 300 people packed a clinic in May. The clinic had no lights and no medicine. The medical teams had to administer “blood tests with their bare hands.”
The public high school in Pozo Verde “has become an incubating ground of its own: A quarter of its 400 students have contracted malaria since November.”
But the government continues to ignore the return of malaria. Oletta said the eradication of Venezuela led the country to power house status. Dr. Arnoldo Gabaldon:
Teams across the Venezuelan countryside built irrigation ditches to drain pools of standing water, distributed quinine and constructed cinder block homes in rural areas so that mosquitoes had fewer places to breed. Dr. Gabaldón founded a research center in the city of Maracay, outside of Caracas and itself a malaria zone at the time, to broaden the mission and train officials from Latin America and Africa.
But it was his use of insecticides — initially DDT, then other substances — that began to turn the tide. The walls of nearly every rural home in the country were sprayed, a technique that killed mosquitoes when they landed to rest. Fumigators would leave an envelope showing the date they would return.
Venezuelans call the mines Cuatro Muertos or Four Dead Men. Former President Hugo Chavez kicked out the Canadian company that ran the mines, but he could not manage it and now its run by locals and armed groups.
But besides gold, food lures people to the mines. Socialism has starved people, who will kill and fight for a packet of flour. Las Claritas, located near the mines, has plenty of food for people:
Restaurants offer full menus. Street markets are packed with fruit. Pickups drive by loaded with pumpkins. In a country where soap is in short supply, a dozen brands are on sale in a Chinese-owned grocery store, where seven models of flat-screen televisions are also available. Miners dish out fat wads of their gold earnings in cash, which run through a bill-counting machine.
Things have become so bad in Venezuela that President Maduro and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos agreed to partially open their borders to allow Venezuelans to shop there.
Hundreds of citizens illegally crossed into Colombia in July, which led to the governments temporarily opening a checkpoint. Over 100,000 people crashed through just to buy toilet paper and little things we take for granted in America.
In a vaguely-worded decree, Venezuelan officials indicated that public and private sector employees could be forced to work in the country’s fields for at least 60-day periods, which may be extended “if circumstances merit.”
. . . . President Nicolas Maduro is using his executive powers to declare a state of economic emergency. By using a decree, he can legally circumvent Venezuela’s opposition-led National Assembly — the Congress — which is staunchly against all of Maduro’s actions.
According to the decree from July 22, workers would still be paid their normal salary by the government and they can’t be fired from their actual job.
It is a potent sign of tough conditions in Venezuela, which is grappling with the lack of basic food items like milk, eggs and bread. People wait hours in lines outsides supermarkets to buy groceries and often only see empty shelves.
It has become too dangerous in Venezuela for trucks and people to deliver food to supermarkets.One council member told The London Times that food delivery trucks cannot reach their destination because “people follow them and loot them.” The member, who did not want the publication to identify them, said “[T]here’s a danger of civil war here.”DONATE
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