Saturday, December 17, 2005

No good deed goes uncriticized 

Today in Ultimas Noticias there was an article about the new pediatric hospital that is almost complete. The hospital is not just a regular childrens hospital - it is a pediatric cardialogy hospital that will specialize in surgery to help children born with congenital heart deffects. The hospital will have 142 beds 33 of which will be intensive care. It will have 30 exam rooms and four large operating suites.

The hospital is needed because in Venezuela there are 3,500 babies born every year with heart defects but the current hospital system can only care for 1,200. Hence the need for this hospital which, it is said, will be the largest of its kind in the world.

Somehow though I don't think it will be too popular with the Venezuelan opposition. Why not you ask? Well, a clue resides in the name of the new hospital - Hospital Cardiologico Infantil Latinoamericano, or the LatinAmerican Babies Cardiological Hospital. So the catch is, as the name implies, this hospital will not only serve Venezuelan children but children from all over Latin America. In fact when it is fully operational next year it is expected to attend to 3,500 childrend from Latin American countries outside of Venezuela.

That is sure to put the opposition into a tizzy if it hasn't already. The opposition has been harshly critical of the aid being given to other Latin countries saying that it should instead be spent in Venezuela. Now, there is no shortage of pressing needs within Venezuela. That is for sure. But the economic situation and standard of living in Venezuela have been improving dramtically in the past couple of years. So it doesn't seem at all unreasonable for Venezuela to share some of its oil windfall with others who are in need.

Furthermore the oppositon's whinning about this is completely hypocritical. For starters if they really care about Venezuela they never would have launched their oil strike that pissed away something like $15 billion dollars - a heck of a lot more money than what Chavez has spent abroad. More importanly, it is estimated that Venezuelans hold about $75 billion overseas, principally in the United States. Whose money is that? Largely the money of wealthy Venezuelans who are supporters of the opposition. So if they really cared at all about Venezuela couldn't they repatriate some of that money? I sure think so. (moreover maybe what really pisses them off about Chavez's social spending is every dollar spent on those programs is one dollar less they can steal and take to Miami).

Another aspect of the opposition's hypocracy was evidenced yesterday by opposition leader Julio Borges. He complained bitterly about an oil refinery that Venezuela will be building in Brazil. He claims the oil refinery and the jobs that go with it should be in Venezuela. Fair enough. But I never heard him complain about the governments prior to Chavez spending billions to buy the U.S. oil company Citgo. Lets see if I understand - spending billions in the U.S. to give jobs to gringos is ok but building a refinery in Brazil to help a fellow Latin country is somehow bad.

I have to say, sarcastically, that the logic escapes me. But in reality the logic is crystal clear. With all its criticism what the opposition is really saying is: "We hate Chavez spending all the money this way because its OUR money that should be spent only on us or at the very least we should get our cut just like we did in the good old days. It was so much better when government monies were a big piggybank for the already wealthy rather than having them wasted on a bunch of undeserving people who smell bad."

To them I can only say, its a brave new world, deal with it.


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