After 3 blog posts describing conversations with ChÃ¡vez opponents (or at least skeptics), its about time to offer a different perspective. Fortuantely, yesterday we arrived at the home of AndrÃ©s, a long-time friend of Charletta and a devoted ChÃ¡vez supporter.
But before I get into more big picture politics, I’ll share my first-hand experience with the Venezuelan public healthcare system, the target of ChÃ¡vez’s Mission Barrio Adentro (I hadn’t heard of it till I found this wikipedia entry). I went to a Integrated Diagnostic Centers (CDI in Spanish) in a poor neighborhood just outside of Maracaibo to have a throat infection looked at. AndrÃ©s explained that this was a level 3 clinic (level 1 being a doctor treating people in his or her own home). The system seemed fairly informal, but efficient. There were 20 people waiting in the lobby when we arrived. With no receptionist, AndrÃ©s simply went up to a doctor and asked her if they could examine me. She said yes and we sat and waited for 10 minutes. In that time, most of the people in the waiting room were moved through. And nobody paid any one or even talked to a receptionist. (more…)