CARACAS.— Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro described this April 20 as a happy day, after announcing that the Bolivarian Republic had achieved its goal, set out 14 years ago, of providing nationwide health coverage for all its citizens through the “Barrio Adentro” (Into the Neighborhoods) Mission, a feat only previously accomplished by Cuba.
At the María Eugenia González Comprehensive Diagnostic Center (CDI), located in the capital’s El Valle district, the first facility of its kind to be inaugurated by Comandante Hugo Chávez, Maduro thanked Cuba, Raúl, and the doctors from both the island and Venezuela who have made this transcendental achievement possible. “Thank you, a thousand times thank you,” he stated.
Also participating in the act were other government officials, Cuban Ambassador to the South American nation, Rogelio Polanco; the Coordinator of all Cuba’s missions in Venezuela, Víctor Gaute; as well as health professionals from the island and the sister country.
Rogelio Polanco, who was invited to speak by Maduro, noted that having achieved such an important goal in the field of health is a miracle made possible by the hard work of both peoples. This is the most important mission that a country undertakes in the world for the benefit of human beings, while others make war, stated the Ambassador.
“No one can stop Barrio Adentro,” stated President Maduro, who made a special point of sharing with the press figures which many global media outlets fail to report: thanks to the mission, which emerged 14 years ago, 71,900,000 medical examinations (from taking blood samples to computerized axial tomography) and almost three million surgical procedures have been performed, all free of charge. Meanwhile, 179,191 lives have been saved; and 830 medical students from indigenous communities have graduated as doctors (while maintaining their ancestral practices and knowledge), and thousands more are currently being trained.
Maduro noted that despite the difficulties faced by the country in April of last year, the government decided to continue working toward the goal of providing 100% nationwide medical coverage, which was finally achieved on Friday, April 21. Barrio Adentro, he explained, is a product of three key concepts shared by Bolivar, Marti, Fidel and Chavez: cooperation, solidarity and the complementarity of our societies.
“We are now entering the perfecting stage,” of this mission, stated the President.
“If we don’t build the Venezuela of the future, who will?” he asked, noting that the oligarchy, whose “interests only go as far as their ambitions,” would never embark on such a feat.
Maduro also mentioned the historic march which took place this past April 19. He noted that not everyone who turned out to march was able to fit along Bolívar Avenue, with scores overflowing into the surrounding streets of Caracas.
Enemies of the Revolution spent over 100 million dollars publicizing the opposition march - which also took place April 19 - on social media, the very same which paled in comparison to the red tide of the people which swarmed the streets in support of their Revolution. Maduro noted that this was the first time in the history of the war against Venezuela that a campaign of such magnitude had ever been waged on social networks.
The President repeated his call to opposition sectors for dialogue: “I hope,” he noted “that they have the courage to take the step…Enough of this criminal, coup plotting violence, enough,” he stated, highlighting that these must not be times of hate, and only that which is made from love succeeds, that there will never be a civil war in the Venezuelan homeland.
We must take care of peace, love peace, value peace, because only through peace will we be able to realize achievements like that which we have accomplished in health, highlighted Maduro. “For us peace is the foundation on which to build the good, the useful, the great,” he stated.
In the face of difficulties, in the face of a war being waged against the Revolution from all sides, Nicolás Maduro recalled an undeniable truth this Friday: There is a team of health professionals ready to serve every 250 Venezuelan families. This is what 100% medical coverage means in the land of Bolívar. This is the news which, Maduro himself pointed out, many media outlets do not want to report.