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June 20, 2019 by Dr. Kyle Varner in Policy
Recently, Dr. Varner sat down with Franklin Camargo in Miami. Franklin is a Venezuelan refugee who just narrowly escaped the tyranny of Nicolas Maduro’s communist regime and the violence that continues to engulf the country.
Born and raised in the South American country, Franklin was a third-year medical student there. Then he had to flee for his life.
Franklin shared his harrowing story with Dr. Varner as well as insights about the state of affairs in the country. The two conversed in Spanish and we had it translated into English for you. This is Part 2 of 2…
Click here to see Part 1 of this conversation…
I’m intrigued about the health system. Tell me more about what you saw as a student of medicine in hospitals, inside the clinics, and public health there.
First, hospitals in Venezuela are also completely in the hands of Nicolas Maduro’s regime and politicized. Public institutions have their management and higher positions controlled by politicians, but there are more people with a real calling for medicine.
Therefore, any kind of protest that could take place, within a public health institution, to expose their problems, is punishable by removing the doctors’ licenses or, even worse, throwing you in jail, or attacking your physical integrity.
I met and even knew, several doctors who raised their voice against… not even the regime, but the problem of scarcity of medicine or instruments –and they were expelled from those medical institutions.
And, in Venezuela, we live in absolute chaos. Diseases keep coming back after they were practically erased. In fact, 90 percent of medicine for chronic illnesses can’t be obtained anywhere in the country.
Doctors, students, they can’t access mouth covers, they can’t access gloves for a simple biological maneuver to perform on a patient.
On top of that, patients can’t pay for a complete blood count, blood test, or even the simplest procedure. And the hospital which is supposed to be free, let’s not forget: it isn’t free. It’s paid by imposition and inflation, which is a kind of tax –the hospital doesn’t have the capacity to provide the doctors, the necessary procedures, or other life essentials to the citizens.
Patients who need dialysis are dying and suffering because of the lack of tools to guarantee Venezuelans, a health platform that they [the regime] call, and have always called, ‘dignified.’
Saying that the state would guarantee dignified health and, to reiterate, the state won’t guarantee anything, they can’t guarantee anything. It’s only the individuals who by using their freedom, and in their pursuit of happiness, following their rational personal interests, can guarantee these essential living conditions.
Doctors don’t have gloves, masks, medicine, as simple as antihypertensives. Patients on dialysis are dying and diseases are coming back, such as malaria. This is happening now.
You’re a third-year student in university. You have seen more malaria than I have, I really haven’t witnessed a malaria case within the US.
And here in the USA, we have this debate a lot because it’s linked to the success of our public health policies which I won’t deny. But that’s not it, it’s because of the success of capitalism which took us to a point where we can eradicate diseases.
There’s even a big state in Venezuela, with a very small population but its territory is very big: The state of Bolivar. In the state of Bolivar, malaria is an endemic disease.
In a country like the USA, it’s a practically eradicated disease. You didn’t have, in all these years of medical experience, you haven’t seen a patient with this illness. In Venezuela, it’s much more frequent.
Prisons are completely infested with this disease and many other places — especially in the state of Bolivar.
How is malaria controlled? By controlling the disease vector. Controlling the mosquito. Mosquitoes also bring other types of disease. Such as dengue, which is currently present there. Tell me more about these cases.
Dengue is very frequent, hemorrhagic dengue is also frequent, many patients who have suffered hemorrhagic dengue are obviously at a death risk, especially in Venezuela where I repeat, there are no conditions to take care of practically any case, no case at all.
I’ve seen pregnant women waiting for their turn to be able to give birth, to access their birth procedure, waiting, lying on the floor, children lying on the floor because there aren’t enough beds, not even chairs. It’s a completely deplorable situation created by socialist policies.
These are the consequences of socialist medicine.
And hemorrhagic dengue is highly mortal, regardless of where it happens. But here, in the US, cases are rare and those that we do have are usually in outer territories such as Puerto Rico. But the cases we do have, I believe we’re taking good care of them because we have available blood for donation at any moment.
I’ve said before that when I’m working, if I need blood, I can call and within a few minutes, someone will arrive with a cooler full of Negative O-type blood, or plasma, or platelets.
And in Venezuela, if you’re a doctor and you have a patient bleeding in a life-threatening way. What can you do?
There isn’t a blood bank in Venezuela. If by any reason, you are in Venezuela and need a blood transfusion, you must look for donors by your own means and they must be able to make their own way to the hospital to help you.
Once, I heard about a boy whose parents, due to ignorance, didn’t even know the kid’s blood type, and the hospital didn’t have the means to know it. The child needed an urgent transfusion but they didn’t know his blood type. They were in a highly controversial and complicated situation for the doctors, which is really more frequent there than one would think.
One remembers the exceptional cases, but these are daily cases. I was a third-year student in med-school and went to the hospital for a few days during the week. Sometimes we had classes there, sometimes on my own initiative, and I witnessed cases like this. The reality is that this happens every day.
What could be practically absurd for an American or for a doctor within the USA, is a reality. We’ve gone back in time –complete decades, centuries… in terms of medical care.
When I talk about economic growth, leftists, in particular, want to tell me that it doesn’t matter a lot.
They say that I’m thinking a lot about the money. But what you’re saying here is we need to understand when there’s no money, there’s no blood; when there’s no money, infectious diseases arrive; when there’s no money, you can’t have a good quality of health.
It’s extremely sad.
The problem is that leftists aren’t aware of the origin of money, the origin of money is simply, money is the medium that’s used to enable exchange.
Exchange what? Exchange effort, exchange work, exchange knowledge. Paper money, or now a card, is what we use.
If money stopped existing, we would negotiate with, maybe, force or violence, and it’s precisely what leftists don’t want to understand.
Money is the medium we use to exchange efforts, exchange knowledge, exchange time.
And it’s precisely through that medium that good hospital institutions are created, for well-trained doctors with useful tools to help patients. And, this is important to highlight, within a system such as the American system, which has a lot of freedoms in certain aspects, but certain regulations in others, which should be completely removed and we agree on that.
It becomes evident that it’s in these countries where individuals become more united: not in a welfare state, not in a philanthropic state, looking to guarantee everything to the individuals; which we perceive as voluntary donations. It’s in these systems with an individualistic philosophy where each individual looks out for himself. Where we observe people being more cooperative and generous with others — and I have faith in that because I’ve seen it in this country.
For example, here in Miami, if something happens to me and you, I can call 9-1-1, and in less than a minute an ambulance will arrive. In Venezuela, it’s not like that.
Not at all. In fact, some days ago a story went viral in social media because a patient got to the hospital in a trash collecting truck. A trash truck. He wasn’t taken in an ambulance, he wasn’t transported in a normal car: he was transported in a trash collecting truck which doesn’t even resemble those in the USA, on the contrary, a trash collecting truck in Venezuela is in terminal conditions.
The patient probably had a heart attack, fainted or was hypoglycemic, maybe because he hadn’t eaten.
I don’t know what his problem was, but he made it to the hospital in a trash truck, an urban trash truck. Besides, risking not only infection for himself, but also for other patients and staff when he arrived at the hospital. Because I reiterate, the medical staff doesn’t have the tools, doesn’t have the necessary tools to be able to help without risking their lives.
It’s hell. And that’s a lesson on how with socialism you can lose everything. It has happened so many times in the history of human beings.
And today, in the USA, among presidential candidates we have a movement called ‘progressivism,’ but they are really socialists.
The only thing I can imagine is that when people hear the word ‘free’ they lose their mind.
People don’t understand that free has a price. Nothing is free and it’s really dangerous when the state promises free things. Because the only financing network states have is through taxes, and taxation is a violent action against individuals.
Therefore, when the state promises something, what they are really saying is, ‘We’ll take it from someone to give it to you.’ People must understand, within the US, the price of free things, on top of how dangerous it is when the state offers guarantees they can’t offer.
When I see politicians such as Bernie Sanders or Ocasio-Cortez in the USA and the support they get, most of all, among young people: it makes me believe that Americans must make an effort and try harder to guarantee and preserve freedom. Because freedom never should be taken for granted, or considered a guarantee. We need to constantly work on preserving it. Because specifically the left, and collectivists in general, don’t take breaks in their efforts and objectives of controlling individuals.
Well, thank you for this interview. I want to say on behalf of Americans, that you’re welcomed in this country. You’re now more American than those who support devils like Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
You understand capitalist ideas, free market, and you’ll be successful in this country. Tell me about your future plans here in the United States.
Well, I’ve started my paperwork for political asylum because my life is in danger in my country and I actually came to the United States to preserve my safety.
I’m in the middle of this process and I have to study English, of course, I have goals to study in this country to be a self-sufficient person be able to provide for myself, and be able to help others as well.
And I’ll always try, in every space and opportunity to raise my voice to fight the left and reach as many minds as possible, within this country, to convince them that freedom is a supreme value and should never be taken for granted.
We have to constantly work for freedom, for a strong republic, in which each individual can be free and self-sufficient, can build and work for a society of self-sufficient persons who don’t believe in the state as a God who must provide absolutely everything for them.
On the contrary, each person becomes the owner of their own body and can work to move forward in life and help their family to build a society of self-sufficient individuals.
I also want to work on that to reach the biggest number of people to teach about the consequences of mixing socialism and society, socialism and economy, education, and health and the horrible consequences it brings — and the value of a free society.
Very well. Welcome to the land of capitalism. We’re happy that you’re here.
Thank you. I’m happy too.
This information is intended to help readers be more informed about their health options when speaking with a professional, but it should not be used alone to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. Be sure to speak to a qualified doctor before taking any action to make sure that your choices reflect your actual health situation.