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Old 06-26-2011, 05:58 PM   #21
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One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter - but a nutjob is a nutjob...
Plus those who don't fear true democracy usually don't try to get themselves voted in as "president for life."
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Old 06-26-2011, 10:16 PM   #22
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It's amazing to me how bias people can be relying solely on the depiction of Chavez in the American media. BTW, he was democratically elected and is a hero to the vast majority of Latin Americans. People feel so comfortable referring to Chavez as a dictator and thug and completely ignore the fact that the rest of the world considered George Bush exactly that.
Just so we’re clear on my description of Chavez as a thug and dictator, I’m being polite. My wife and children are Venezuelan, I lived there for 25 years and living there was our “plan A” for retirement. We still have lots of family there. Most of my friends are Venezuelan. I had a privileged position with an important company and through it came to know many Venezuelan politicians and much of the business elite. Not Chavez, but some of his occasional inner circle. I speak from personal knowledge and experience.

Most of my working age extended family members are unable to get gainful employment because of their inability to keep their political views to themselves. That includes 2 medical doctors badly needed in Venezuela and people that are both intelligent and capable. Their lives and their families are badly affected, as is their ability to contribute to their country and fellow citizens. The same for friends, although many have left Venezuela and contribute to the prosperity of other countries.

I lived among and dealt with Venezuelan corruption my entire adult life. Most of the problems the country faces are self-inflicted. The difference that characterizes the current ruling elite is the extent of the disrespect they have for human life, the rule of law and basic morality.

By the way, I don’t get any info (about Venezuela) from US media but I do provide to them and correct them frequently when I read news that is “poorly informed”. Some of that feedback has been reflected in subsequent reporting. I can also absolutely assure you that “vast majority of Latin Americans” think he is a clown or an idiot, and they put up with him because he has lots of oil and gives it to people that flatter him. I am also happy to engage further on this subject, but on the politics section of this forum.

Finally, don't pick on Sarah for something I said.
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Old 06-26-2011, 10:46 PM   #23
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One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter - but a nutjob is a nutjob...
I'm losing track here since you brought up the names of other politicians... are we still talking about Chavez?
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Old 06-27-2011, 08:37 AM   #24
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Michael, thank you for your knowledgeable post. I recall a person who showed up at a party at our house spouting off about past Chilean politics in front of a good friend of mine who is from Chile and actually lived there during the time in question. It really frosted his cake to hear her "interpretation" of the experiences of his family and the loss of their livelihood to the people with whom she sympathized.

However, to Nords' point, we watched one of your movie recommendations last night, the Motorcycle Diaries. I'm going to say out front that we live under a rock, as far as movies are concerned, so we'd not even heard of it before now. And even worse, we didn't even realize that it was based on Che Guevera's book of the same name. However, our ignorance made the movie even better, because we didn't know until the end the name of the young man on the motorcycle.

Much of our morning coffee time today was spent musing on how we as Americans interpret people like Guevera. I never gave him much thought except that he was a comrade of Castro. Seeing the desperate poverty and disenfranchisement that he witnessed now gives me a more nuanced view of his war on capitalism in S.A. I want to thank you for the enlightenment, both on Venezuala and indirectly, on Guevera, Michael.

I'm very glad that we'll be traveling along some of the same roads, albeit in a slightly better ride than that old Norton, when we go to Peru at the end of the year. Thinking of your comments and that movie brought to mind the old Mark Twain quote:

..nothing so liberalizes a man and expands the kindly instincts that nature put in him as travel and contact with many kinds of people.

Thanks again--nice start to my Monday morning to read your informed postings and your kindness to "stick up for me".
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Old 06-27-2011, 09:22 AM   #25
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Old 06-27-2011, 11:46 AM   #26
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Sarah, I am embarrassed and undeserving – but don’t let that stop you. Thanks for the kind words.

The original topic of this thread is pretty much done – now we just need to wait and see. July 5th is Venezuelan Independence Day - a key date and should tell us much. Until then no more comment from me on this matter.

Back to films. Of the short list we discussed, both DW and I really enjoyed “Y Tu Mama Tambien” and “Real Women have curves”. Real Women is (regretfully for your Spanish) in English, but is still the best representation of Latino family culture I have seen in a film in either language, and it sparked a dinner table dialog much like your own, but between DW and our daughters. “Tu Mama” is gritty and has a fair amount of sex that might offend some, but is an excellent film with many layers, one of which is a very critical view of Mexican society, poverty and exploitation. If it doesn’t show, I think Mexican filmmaking has really evolved.

One comment about your trip. Even though Peru has the same type of inequality depicted in these films and seen almost everywhere in Latin America, I have never seen or felt the mean spiritedness or hostility evidenced elsewhere, even going back to the “Sendero Luminoso” days. People there are friendly and well meaning.
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Old 07-07-2011, 09:47 AM   #27
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The original topic of this thread is pretty much done – now we just need to wait and see. July 5th is Venezuelan Independence Day - a key date and should tell us much. Until then no more comment from me on this matter.
Well, he did return, after announcing (from Cuba) the removal of a cancerous tumor. He made a short public appearance in CCS but gave no address and did not attend the July 5 celebrations. Cause for speculation. My SIl (an MD) said yesterday that the medical community is overwhelmed with speculation. His appearance from Cuba TV was gaunt and sickly, while he looked fit and chubby a couple of days ago in person. No way to know.

Venezuelan Presidential elections are next year, the campaigning has already begun, and the physical demands of a long campaign will probably tell us what is happening.

Unless the docs have something to add, I'd say this thread has run its course and thanks to all that joined in the conversation.
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Old 07-07-2011, 07:22 PM   #28
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You know you have a bad HMO when it's a good option to go to Cuba for surgery.
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Old 07-07-2011, 07:43 PM   #29
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Thought Cuba was famous for exporting very well trained doctors to poor countries. Dang subversive red plague. The gall of those commie so and sos spending money on education. What kind of way is that to wage a war of ideology?!
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Old 07-07-2011, 07:55 PM   #30
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Maybe Rich can confirm for us that Cuban trained doctors are in great demand within the international community. I know that Indian doctors are pretty well trained. I just do not know the same about Cuban doctors.
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Old 07-08-2011, 08:55 AM   #31
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Venezuela has private health care (like the US) and public health care, the same services (in theory), just paid by the gov't and little or no charge to the patient. Like many Venezuelan MDs, my SIL worked both private and public practice. For the past 10 years she has worked alongside Cuban MDs that came over after the Chavez Castro lovefest Venezuela and Cuba joined forces. Her assessment: Cuban GPs are like any other GP educated a few decades ago and working in a rural or small town setting ever since. The specialists are lacking in knowledge, technique and technology. Cuba has developed expertise in a few areas, like eye surgery. The common view among Venezuelan MDs is that Cuba's reputation for medical care is the result of lots of GPs providing very good basic care to most of the population.

When Castro was ill he went to Venezuela for treatment. Chavez went to Cuba. Neither leader trusts their own medical community.
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Old 07-08-2011, 09:43 AM   #32
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Venezuela has private health care (like the US) and public health care, the same services (in theory), just paid by the gov't and little or no charge to the patient. Like many Venezuelan MDs, my SIL worked both private and public practice. For the past 10 years she has worked alongside Cuban MDs that came over after the Chavez Castro lovefest Venezuela and Cuba joined forces. Her assessment: Cuban GPs are like any other GP educated a few decades ago and working in a rural or small town setting ever since. The specialists are lacking in knowledge, technique and technology. Cuba has developed expertise in a few areas, like eye surgery. The common view among Venezuelan MDs is that Cuba's reputation for medical care is the result of lots of GPs providing very good basic care to most of the population.

When Castro was ill he went to Venezuela for treatment. Chavez went to Cuba. Neither leader trusts their own medical community.
My take is that Cuba prides itself on health care access. Technology and quality of physician education and training are much harder to assess.
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Old 07-09-2011, 01:56 PM   #33
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