A Fortune Mag/CNN Money article out this week reports the latest, overwhelming evidence of horrendous skullduggery in a long-running environmental case, supported by the highly corruptible Ecuadoran government, against the U.S.-based Chevron oil company. In a Manhattan federal district court, reports Fortune’s Roger Parloff, “Chevron filed the declaration of a former Ecuadorian judge, Alberto Guerra, who describes how he and a second former judge, Nicolás Zambrano, allegedly allowed the plaintiffs lawyers to ghostwrite their entire 188-page, $18.2 billion judgment against Chevron in exchange for a promise of $500,000 from the anticipated recovery.”
Chávez-nomics has been even more devastating for doctors in the public hospitals. Dr. Douglas León Natera of the Venezuelan Medical Federation (FMV) told El Universal on June 16 that doctors earn a mere 2,600 bolivars (roughly $325 at the market exchange rate) monthly, and that even though hospitals have become targets of the country’s rising crime, the government has failed to provide protection for health-care staff. Doctors also cite scarce and low-quality resources and long hours. On June 30 the FMV called a strike to protest low pay and arduous working conditions. Last week Mr. Chávez offered them a 30% raise. They refused to yield. They are, however, continuing to treat urgent cases.
Pharmaceutical importers have been reluctant to complain publicly about their difficulties; large companies that offend Mr. Chávez can become targets of nationalization. It’s a bit more difficult to nationalize a doctor. A strike is just one option. Many of Venezuela’s best doctors have fled the country, which explains how it is, according to the FMV, that in public hospitals there are 130,000 patients waiting for surgery.
In its 2010 annual report, the ministry of health acknowledged the shortage of doctors, particularly in specialties such as anesthesiology, neonatal care, cardiovascular surgery, neurosurgery and child cardiology. Private hospitals are also deteriorating now as the poor turn up for care with government medical insurance, but the insurer doesn’t fulfill its obligation to pay.
As you may recall, Colombian authorities dealt a huge blow to the FARC by killing its #2 guy and seizing 15 laptops, which will surely reveal much valuable intelligence on the criminal/terrorist organization. Here’s my article at Real Clear World: FARC’s Military Leader: He Died With His Boots On
We are supposed to conclude that Cuba is no longer a threat to global stability and that Fidel is a reformed tyrant. But how believable is a guy whose revolution all but wiped out Cuba’s tiny Jewish community of 15,000, and who spent the past 50 years supporting the terrorism of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Syria, Libya and Iran? And how does Castro explain Venezuela, where Cuban intelligence agents run things, Iran is an ally and anti-Semitism has been state policy in recent years? Mr. Goldberg doesn’t go there with Fidel.
It also is passing strange that we hear nothing from Mr. Goldberg about poor Alan Gross. Mr. Gross, a U.S. government contractor and a Jew, has been languishing in a Cuban prison since December. His crime: distributing computers to a handful of Cuban Jews who want to establish contact with the diaspora. Is that any way to show love for the Jewish people?
It never seems to cross Mr. Goldberg’s mind that he is being used in a manner Communists first learned at Lenin’s knee. Or perhaps he is happy to be useful. In a follow-up post he explains that since Fidel is not as bad as Pol Pot, Cubans should stop complaining.
Goldberg in turn says Mary’s “unhinged” because, after all, the Jews were not exterminated and can travel to Israel…only with permission of the government, Jeffrey.
Welcome to the Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean. If you would like your posts included in next Monday’s Carnival, please email me: faustaw2 “at” gmail “dot” com.
The big stories last week were Hugo Chavez’s nationalizing American food producer Cargill in Venezuela, and the change in the Cuban Communist regime. Developing this week: Nicolas Sarkozy’s first state visit to Mexico, and Lula’s visit to the White House on Saturday.