Reporter’s Notebook: How a look inside Venezuela’s crumbling health care system got me kicked out of the country

ABC NewsOur hospital source just kept repeating: “There are almost zero antibiotics, no surgical gowns, no internal sutures, no gauze, no hypertension meds, no chemotherapy. Hospitals don’t have bed sheets, food or water.”

There’s no soap. There’s no air conditioning. In short, he said, performing surgery is like practicing battlefield medicine.

We were sitting at a hotel in a country that sits atop more oil than Saudi Arabia — Venezuela. By all rights, Venezuela should be one of the world’s wealthiest nations. But it’s not.

Just a decade ago, Venezuela was renowned for pumping out oil and 13 titles for Miss Universe and Miss World, for being a plastic surgery mecca and culinary capital. It has since become the world’s worst-performing economy, and watchdog groups say, Caracas the world’s most dangerous city. …

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About

During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

Unfortunately, in recent years, continued progress in these areas has been threatened, not least by the elections of radical populist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. These governments have instituted retrograde agendas that include the propagation of class warfare, state domination of the economy, assaults on private property, anti-Americanism, support for such international pariahs as Iran, and lackluster support for regional counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics initiatives.

We are a group of concerned policy experts that fear the results of these destructive agendas for individual freedom, prosperity, and the well-being of the peoples of the region. Our goal is to inform American policymakers and American and international public opinion of the dangers of these radical populist regimes to inter-American security.