Photo: retrieved

Very cordially, I write this letter in relation to your Communication, received under the number 918, on October 24, 2018, through which you remitted to us an annex with a supplies and medicine donation certificate from Doctors Without Borders. To that regard, I notify you that because of a decision of this Directive Board, donations from such organization won’t be received.

Without any other particulars to reference, subscribes to you,

Dr. Pablo Castillo

Subdirector (E)

Caracas University Hospital

In those five lines addressed to Dr. Gustavo Benítez, Chief of Surgery at the Caracas’ University Hospital (HUC, for is Spanish acronym); Dr. Pablo Castillo, the hospital’s subdirector informed him of the decision to reject a donation offered last week, by Switzerland-based NGO Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders). The letter quickly became viral in social media.

Benítez had requested a donation last October, and according to him, he had previously informed the board about its nature and handed a detailed inventory of the requested supplies, so the board members could keep a record and make sure they weren’t being sold or taken away by the hospital’s personnel. He was expecting this to be the first of a series of similar donations, and assured in an interview that the rejection letter’s diffusion surprised him, but revealed the Health Ministry’s unwillingness to “help himself”.

The leaked letter was received with public outrage and indignation.

In a country where simple things like syringes and gauze are nowhere to be seen, where people constantly die due to lack of antibiotics and chemotherapy, the leaked letter was received with public outrage and indignation, especially because many of the supplies shipped to the hospital—such as venous catheters and sterile surgical robes—were precisely the ones that the hospital itself asks patients to provide in order to get them to surgery. Representatives from the Central University of Venezuela (UCV), whose medical students work at the HUC as interns, condemned the decision and asked for an explanation from the board, claiming that they were never consulted and that the “hospital was falling to pieces”.

So earlier this week, the hospital responded… And they would’ve better kept their mouths shut.

In a new statement, signed by the directive board, the authorities assured that the country has been a “victim of economic sanctions” that compromised the acquisition of required medical supplies, while paradoxically claiming Venezuela has the resources to buy all required materials and that “it’s not susceptible to miseries designed to bend its dignity”.

They also said the donated material lacked the requested legal licenses from the Venezuelan Health Ministry. After reassuring that they would not accept the supplies, the board said they would keep condemning the consequences of the “immoral economic war that tries to bend the Venezuelan people’s dignity forcing it to accept harmful maneuvers from national and international organizations,” and recommended all organizations interested in improving the situation of Venezuela, to ask for the immediate removal of economic sanctions.

The statement was criticized even by the hospital’s union leaders, who asked the board to reconsider their position in behalf of patients.

Dr. Thais Rebolledo, chief of Radiotherapy and one of the statement’s signatories was interviewed by Cesar Miguel Rondón last Tuesday and after angrily acknowledging that she ignored if economic sanctions prevented the acquisition of supplies—even though the letter she signed, and her own words seconds before said otherwise—she assured that the supplies were rejected because their quality hadn’t been validated by the Venezuelan Health Ministry.


Médecins sans Frontières is a Nobel-awarded organization, that has provided voluntary healthcare in low-income environments in over 70 countries for 47 years. All the products they distribute go through a thorough quality control process, which is publicly detailed on their own website. And yes, the lack of a license from the Venezuelan Health Ministry could still be a valid argument… if that same ministry hadn’t blatantly ignored the fact that products of scientifically-proven low quality are being widely distributed across the nation in CLAP boxes, without anything similar to a sanitary permission.

But the lack of empathy and the ideological stubbornness of the HUC’s board statement are still shocking.


The refusal from authorities receiving the donations isn’t new. Nicolás Maduro has repeatedly refused offers of humanitarian aid, claiming they are decoys designed by Western powers to secretly invade the nation. But the lack of empathy and the ideological stubbornness of the HUC’s board statement are still shocking.

In a classic display of chavista cynicism, Dr. Rebolledo shielded herself behind the Primum non nocere (First, do no harm) oath that all medical doctors around the world take when they graduate. The same oath that her, and the other signatories break every single day, when they put ideology before Venezuelan patients, as firmly denounced by César Miguel Rondón in his interview (which you can listen here).

If anything “positive” can be taken from this, is that the statement makes very clear that when choosing between Venezuelan lives and political allegiances, health authorities will always put the Revolution first.

So, the next time you read news about a kid dying from an infection at a Venezuelan hospital, or you stumble upon someone urgently looking for chemotherapy on social networks, or get a glimpse of the humiliation Venezuelan patients must endure to get the few medicines the State has to offer, remember that’s not casual: It’s the Venezuelan government’s will.

And don’t forget the doctors who still help them enforce it.

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  1. The Chavistas are betting that either sanctions will be lifted or more likely that medical supplies and food will be given directly to the government for distribution and in the meantime sick and hungry Venezuelans be damned. The Chavistas more likely than not will win this bet.

    By the way, where is MRubio?

    • He posted immediately after comments were restored and said he would not be posting. He provided two reasons for not posting. 1st he didn’t agree with the new comment removal policy. 2nd he felt given the current deteriorating in country situation that it was just too dangerous to continue posting as the posts could be used to identify him and his family’s in country location.

    • I’m at work now and on the iPhone, so I can’t link you right now.

      John keeps in touch with him via email, and John said he bailed on CC when they started censoring.

  2. US Sanctions do not target the supply of medicines or food or other like commodities to Venezuela , its main target are financial transactions with govt bodies ……, so much so that the flow of Venezuelan oil exports to the US has continued unabated ………., evidently because the sanctions dont affect them . In the case in point the delivery of medical equipment free of costs to the HUC is not affected in any way by the US sanctions , arguing that the supplies must be rejected because of the sanctions is absurd and lacking in sense….in any event if the sanctions are opposed by the Venezuelan govt then breaking the sanctions is something the it must encourage ……not something it must cooperate in applyiing …..the rejection by the HCU of these medical items is therefore an act of supreme stupidity and more over of great malignity given the siutation of shortages that now afflict the patients of the hospital . If the sanctions had the scope that is alleged then the govt should refuse to sell oil to the US and its not doing so!!

    • They are not saying that they cant accept the donations due to sanctions.

      What they are saying is 2 things. One is the “this is not certified by the Health Ministry” cover up; I very much doubt MSF cant provide them with whatever is required to do so, is not like they are going to be buying syringes from a shady provider in Bielorussia or something (like the chavistas…) so if the material is not certified then is because they dont want to do it.

      The second and the one that really makes you want to start hanging people from lamposts is the “we have the money to pay for stuff, but the sanctions dont let us, so accepting a donation would be humilliating so no thanks”.

      Because dying, painfully in some cases, due to stuff you could survive if they accepted the damn donation, thats not humilliating.

      For Maduro. For the ones dying well, who cares?

  3. Surely this would expose them to legal liability in a normal country, wouldn’t it?

    Yet another piece of evidence that chavismo doesn’t feel in danger.

  4. If they have the money to buy the medicines but the sanctions dont let them buy them they are lying because the sanctions as written arent stopping them from getting them so why is it humiliating for them to rceve them for free , if they lack santary approval then they should be able to get them if is the kind of stuff that needs it , the arguments continue to be absurd , I fthe sanctions dont stop pdvsa from selling oil to the US why should recieving medical supplies be banned by the sanctions ….its self contradictory and stupid…

    • Bill B. You are correct of course. Simply stated you can’t make sense out of insanity. Again the Chavismo thugs prove their utter lack of any decency.

  5. Good article that shows once again how cruel socialism-communism really is. Human lives are dispensable/worthless, to be used as needed, death included. Shame on all who still defend these inhuman political beliefs i.e. a good solid bunch of you reading this blog.

    • Right you are. What is important is the Revolution. Every single theorist from Marx on down to the fat, tashed’ bus-driver espouses that singular belief. Not that it has actually worked ANYWHERE. Christ, they were Che’s (alleged) last words. And that butcher had NO PROBLEM killing kids, women or the mentally ill if they wouldn’t pick up a gun for the Revolution. Anyone spending an hour at can read what the true believers think about non-Chavistas: FUCK THEM.

      People die.
      People are born.
      People leave.

      What is important is that the Revolution lives on!

  6. A socialist/communist nightmare cannot admit its failures for all to see, nor does it worry about the resulting ghosts of the dead that may haunt it–what counts are the fat personal bank accounts/luxuries of its leaders in this life, and their always Latin American “dignity”, while the Pueblo poor are equitably being distributed the misery.

  7. “It’s the Venezuelan government’s will.

    And don’t forget the doctors who still help them enforce it.”

    Why not write it like it is?

    “It’s the Kleptozuelan Narco-Tyranny’s Scam”.

    The only “will” of that bunch of CRIMINALS is to steal, steal some more, get even richer, and stay in power forever to avoid jail time. Comprende?

    Now here’s the interesting part: “the doctors who help them enforce it”. That’s why I often call Venezuela Kleptozuela. Almost everyone is part of the problem. Almost everyone left is complicit and culpable. Even doctors. They, of course, are mostly bribed, greased-up, rich, enchufados. Even “doctors” in Kleptozuela are crooks, spineless thieves. I didn’t say it, the author of this post did.

  8. Under socialism everything is politicized. The people of Venezuela knew that in advance, they bought it, now they pay for it. Who in the world can change it now?

  9. Dr. Thais Rebolledo … assured that the supplies were rejected because their quality hadn’t been validated by the Venezuelan Health Ministry.

    As if Médecins sans Frontières (a Nobel-awarded organization) is going to ship bad medicine.

    My sense of it is the Chavistas, working off the Cuban model, want to control the distribution of all and any vital products, and the fact that the medicines were headed straight for the hospital took the Chavista’s out of the loop with stuff (medicine and equipment) they could use as political loyalty chips.

    If the validation is really the hang up, why not negotiate some means for the validation process to be carried out. I wouldn’t let the Chavista’s off the hook this easily. Offer to do what they stated was necessary. Then wait for the response which, by any definition, IS a crime against humanity. These people are putting themselves up to be accountable for some criminal decisions. In believing that they are only accountable to themselves, they are dooming their own future while people die.


    • My sense of it is the Chavistas, working off the Cuban model, want to control the distribution of all and any vital products, and the fact that the medicines were headed straight for the hospital took the Chavista’s out of the loop with stuff (medicine and equipment) they could use as political loyalty chips.

      You nailed it, as Jon Stewart would have said. Control is what this is all about. For Chavismo, loss of control constitutes “humiliation” because Chavismo is supposed to control everything. In that sense, the “humiliation” cry isn’t a pretext. As you point out, an independent source of medical supplies will chip away at dependence on Chavismo- which for Chavismo definitely constitutes humiliation. Loss of power, loss of control is definitely humiliating for Chavismo, which believes it should control as much as possible.

  10. Most people talk about “socialism” when they don’t even know what the term means. Let’s see:

    “Socialism is a range of economic and social systems characterized by social ownership and workers’ self-management of the means of production[10] as well as the political theories and movements associated with them.[11] Social ownership may refer to forms of public, collective or cooperative ownership, or to citizen ownership of equity.[12] There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them,[13] though social ownership is the common element shared by its various forms.[5][14][15]

    Socialist economic systems can be divided into non-market and market forms.[16] Non-market socialism involves the substitution of factor markets and money with engineering and technical criteria based on calculation performed in-kind, thereby producing an economic mechanism that functions according to different economic laws from those of capitalism. Non-market socialism aims to circumvent the inefficiencies and crises traditionally associated with capital accumulation and the profit system.[25] By contrast, market socialism retains the use of monetary prices, factor markets and in some cases the profit motive, with respect to the operation of socially owned enterprises and the allocation of capital goods between them. Profits generated by these firms would be controlled directly by the workforce of each firm, or accrue to society at large in the form of a social dividend.[26][27][28] The socialist calculation debate discusses the feasibility and methods of resource allocation for a socialist system.”

    Thus, by definition, “socialism” isn’t what most people think, and much less what autocratic dictatorships, self-described as “socialists” claim to be. If you recall, Chavismo was defined by a regime taking control of the private industry and all companies. “Expropiese!” was Chabestia’s cri-de -guerre for years. But the ownership of the alienated companies did not go to the people or the workers, no. It went to a few corrupt Chavista crooks, who drained each company dry, robbed the hell out of them, until they bankrupted.

    That’s true “socialism”. Not what they pretty definition calls for. It’s simply another form of Kleptocracy. Which is the correct word to be utilized when referring to Kleptozuela.

    • That’s pretty complicated stuff. The easy way is the way Marx described it, paraphrasing:
      If you want to sit around all day, or do arts and crafts, or enjoy the sunshine, you will benefit as much as someone who wants to work all day. What would motivate someone to prefer working all day, possibly in a hot and dirty factory or maybe a coal mine, is not told.

  11. Likewise, people tend to use the term “ideology” loosely:

    1A system of ideas and ideals, especially one which forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy.

    ‘the ideology of republicanism’

    Try the “ideology of Chavismo”. What’s that? It sure ain’t ‘socialism’ or communism. Capitalism still rules, it’s all about stealing, profits, wealth, buying stuff and selling stuff, with tons of corruption in between, for a PROFIT. But it’s not even Capitalism either, since the corrupt thieves in charge rule the oil industry and others, and then sold them to the Chinese and Russians for personal PROFIT.

    So what is it, then? How do you define Masburrismo today? Grand Theft. Criminality. Kleptocracy. Chaos, except the police, national guard, the entire military with 2000 ‘generals’ are also corrupt and complicit THIEVES. They keep the regime from crumbling with the collapsed economy. The best definition is, to be redundant, Criminal Kleptocracy. Anchored by an enormous Drug Trade, which also keeps the military happy. But no one likes to talk about THAT. That’s where most of the money comes from. DRUG TRADE.

    The day CC or anyone dare to write an in-depth article about THAT, the elephant in the room, I might become an evangelist.

  12. Juan Carlos, I know that in the past, the Ministry of Health purchased medical equipment from Cuba, even though the equipment was not manufactured in Cuba. Cuba acted as the middle man, so to speak, for reasons that are obvious. I don’t know if that is the same for medication and medical supplies supplied to hospitals like this one, or if they typically order these materials directly with funds from the budget set by the Ministry, subject to the Ministry’s “oversight”. The reason I ask is I wonder if opposition to opening up sources of supplies is a combination of ideology and a concern about maintaining a long-standing system of corruption, predicated on a closed supply system.

    • Hi Canuckle,

      Well, corruption is pervasive in every government branch so if it has a role to play here, it wouldn’t be a surprise. In any case, the donation in question was small. Items required for the surgery service to operate about a month. Large-scale contracts are still managed directly by the ministry, mainly with Chinese companies such as Meheco. I think the reasons to refuse this donation are simpler: the hospital board doesn’t want to go against the official posture of refusing aid, no matter what that means to patients.

    • Just FYI: the ideology of a command economy is incompatible with free markets. Command economies rely exclusively on rigged deals.

  13. This is rather old, from early April 2018, but it says the Russian goverment gave 8 tonnes of medicine to the
    Venezuelan regime.
    Firsly: I think that is a rather limited amount of medicine (even if measuring in weight is something that might
    not say anything anyway).
    Secondly: I wonder who among Chavistas stole it to resell it.

    I think Venezuelans abroad need to organise exhibitions for journalists – targeted journalists – to explain the whole horror, the corruption, the options.

    Would people like Borges or Ledezma be up to the task of help there? I very much doubt it.
    We need new people.


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