Radio Caracas Chronicles: The Health Care Crisis


My name isn’t really Pete Sullivan. Before I left for Venezuela, I was advised by other journalists that the government isn’t just giving out the ‘Visa de Negocios’ anymore, shutting out both the foreign press and business people in one fell swoop. Even the expensive services that procure visas for people in Miami are saying it’s a four month wait, and even then it’s “maybe”.

Then, in the days ahead of the 1S La Marcha, journalists with work visas from the Miami Herald, LeMonde and Al Jazeera weren’t allowed in at the airport.

So, I am a tourist telling stories with my iPhone. I wanted to see if the food and health care crisis were as bad as I had read about before coming. It’s worse. My baptism to the food crisis was seeing a food ration line two blocks from my house in Altamira. The hardest hit are the elderly and the children.

I’ve been traveling internationally for 30  years. There’s always that baptism, that ah ha! moment, of “yeah, i’m really here.” In Sarajevo, it was hearing a sniper’s bullet whizz by my head. In Rwanda, it was seeing a family of four decapitated. In Iraq, it was hearing a car bomb a few blocks away.

Here in Caracas, its was seeing Isbelia, a retired professor, walking me through — with humour, mind you — what is basically, a slow torture of the Venezuelan people. I’ve never seen anything like it.

I hope you enjoy my reports.

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  1. “My name really isn’t Pete Sullivan.”

    This reminded me of the movie V for Vendetta where the main character Evey says:
    “…artists use lies to tell the truth, while politicians use them to cover the truth up.”

    Thank you Pete for your wonderful journalistic artwork.

  2. “Pete”, Welcome to Venezuela. Your work here is needed… desperately! I have been here for over a decade, and I still can’t manage to exactly string the right words together to explain to outsiders what has happened here. Part of the problem is that the raw truth sounds too ridiculous to be believable.

  3. The reason why there is a lack of concern in the world is that Maduro was elected, the low price of oil provides a convenient explanation for the awful economy, the Chavistas wrap themselves in faux socialism and finally Obama is interested only in Iran and to a lesser degree Asia.

    • There is plenty of concern, partly for human rights and partly for neighboring countries and the US not wanted to deal with the spillover of an impending failed state. However, it ain’t worth much. No one is sending an army to take out this disgusting regime. Venezuelans will have to fix their country themselves.

      Besides, getting rid of dictators often proves to be the easy part. Building lasting institutions and a liberal* democratic culture is the hard part.

      *liberal in the classical sense, not the current american usage of the phrase

  4. The reason why there is a lack of concern in the world is because there are 195 countries, and many have even harsher problems than Venezuela. Many are poorer, riddled with diseases, To think that Venezuela in the center of the world is an illusion. Heck, Europe hardly decided to help Greece a little bit, and they’re right next door. The US has enough problems with Mexico and dozens of other countries closer than Venezuela. Venezuela has to help itself. What is the “world” going to do for us? Nothing. Except start coming for tourism, or investing, whenever we get our shyt together, and stop killing people at every corner.

  5. this page doesn’t work in firefox, I had to listen the file in chrome. I checked files from firefox and it worked so I guess it is your fault.

    good job but nowadays we are so used to images… this kind of report clearly asks for them

  6. Great to have another wordsmith on the job. ‘ Yo soy gringo’ , it’s a slogan I have often wanted to have printed on my t-shirt because of the constant looks I get just being here.


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