CARACAS – The Health Commission of Venezuela’s National Assembly legislature said on Tuesday that the opposition’s dialogue with the Nicolas Maduro government must reach a humanitarian agreement on bringing medicines into the country since, it said, the healthcare system has collapsed.
Doctor and lawmaker Dinorah Figuera, a member of the Health Commission, told EFE that in addition to an enormous budget shortage in the health sector, Venezuela also suffers from a massive exodus of doctors, a scarcity of medicines, plus the “centralization” and corruption throughout the entire bureaucracy.
“We always insist on dialogue, even if it goes against the opinion of many in the opposition nationwide, because the right to life and the right to health are non-negotiable,” the lawmaker said.
She recalled that the National Assembly, with its strong opposition majority, declared a state of emergency in matters of healthcare more than a year ago, and that there’s no hiding the current healthcare situation, because every day people seek medical attention and medications and then die because they can’t get them.
“It’s a truly corrupt system... a drama that huge can’t be hidden,” she said.
Figuera pointed to the Maduro government for supposedly violating the right to healthcare and said the issuing of the “Card of the Homeland,” implemented by the ruling party this year, is a way to “cut off” that right.
“Health is a universal right, there’s no justification for asking patients for their Card of the Homeland in order to receive medical attention – not even their ID cards should be required,” Figuera said.
She also noted that the legislative Health Commission to which she belongs has reported the collapse of the Venezuelan healthcare system before the Organization of American States (OAS), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).
The opening of a humanitarian channel to import needed medical supplies is a recurring request by numerous social sectors and government adversaries, and is one of the demands of the opposition in its conversations with Chavismo being held in the Dominican Republic.
Nonetheless, the Venezuelan government, through different spokespersons, has indicated that it will not permit such a humanitarian channel to be opened, since in its opinion it would just be an excuse for “foreign intervention.”
The Maduro government, for example, has again blocked the entry of foods and medicines donated by foreign governments.