The Scourge of Malaria Returns to Venezuela

By Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryWhen I was in Venezuela, one of the things that I did not have to worry about was getting the dreaded disease malaria. Before I ever went there, I talked to a medical specialist on this possibility. He showed me areas of Venezuela that were free of malaria, which was almost the entire country (except for some of the borderlands with Colombia and Brazil). In fact, malaria was so rare that any cases were reported in the national news there. I was certainly in no danger of getting malaria because it had been thoroughly eradicated where I was staying and where I was traveling. Therefore there was no need for taking medication for it, and no need about using any special netting for protection from mosquitoes. If the worst should happen, then the country’s medical facilities would have helped me to get the medications I needed and the doctors would have been able to treat me. That was in 1995.

Fast-forward to 2019, and wholesale epidemics of malaria are breaking out throughout Venezuela. The whole medical system has collapsed, medications for treating those with malaria is spotty at best, and reports coming in (at least those that have not been suppressed by the socialist government in Venezuela) is that at least there are 60,000 to hundreds of thousands of cases of malaria throughout Venezuela. No one is sure how many have died as a result of contracting malaria, but one thing is for sure and that is the Venezuelan government has done nothing to stop the spread of the disease. The government does not spray the areas most affected by mosquitoes carrying the disease, and private charities seem to be the only ones that provide people with any medications for malaria. Many of Venezuela’s doctors have fled the country because they do not have the facilities for treating their patients for anything much less a malaria epidemic, and medicines that can help those affected by malaria more often than not perish because of cuts in electric power to hospital refrigerators that hold these anti-malaria medications.

The United Socialist Party of Venezuela does not seem to care what happens to the ordinary people, and how many die or flee the country. It only cares about holding on to power in a country that is fast disintegrating. And what is happening to Venezuela will eventually affect the countries right next to it. Malarial breeding grounds in Venezuela means that mosquitoes will go well beyond Venezuela’s borders and infect who knows how many Colombians and Brazilians. This is on top of the millions of Venezuelans who have fled the country, and the suffering that tens of millions of Venezuelans are going through now at the hands of the current tyrant Nicolas Maduro. So the question in my mind is how long will the government of Venezuela be tolerated by the rest of South America?

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