The medical system has been developed with the support of Cuba, which has sent health and other professionals to work in the South American nation. I personally know doctors, nurses and professors who have worked for as much as three years in Venezuela.
In a ceremony recognizing the achievement, doctors presented Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro with the gift of a white medical coat and a stethoscope, and they declared the nation’s first worker president to be “Doctor Love.” Maduro noted that the achievement is of no importance to the international news media. But the indifference of the media cannot erase the achievement nor the fact that “the human miracle, of treating all human beings as what they are, is in march for millions.”
The achievement was reported by the Cuban journalist Alina Perera Robbio, who sent a special report to Granma, the Official Organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and the principal daily newspaper in Cuba. On the same page, another article on Venezuela appears. It describes the work of armed bands contracted by the Venezuelan opposition, who engaged in vandalism against various public installations, including an attack on an infant-maternal hospital.
The opposition in Venezuela is driven by its particular interests. Its leading forces are the large estate landholders and business elite, both of which are tied to international corporate capital, through their participation in the import-export commerce that is integral to the core-peripheral relation. These economic sectors have a particular interest in opposition to an autonomous national project of economic and social development, the ultimate goal of which is to break the core-peripheral economic relation. The opposition has, but does not openly propose, an anti-national and anti-popular project that wants to restore neoliberal polices, opening the national market to international penetration and weakening the role of the state.
In seeking to influence the popular sectors, the Venezuelan elite exploits three possibilities. (1) The highly educated sector of the workforce is for the most part able to find material security in a national economy shaped by the international core-peripheral relation, even though an autonomous national project offers more to the middle class in terms of a meaningful and more dignified national project. (2) The great majority of people tend to think in terms of their concrete daily needs, rather than thinking theoretically and historically. The elite has exploited this human tendency by disrupting the economy through the denial of goods and services and by creating conflict through street violence. Some of the people, thinking concretely, have a tendency to blame the government for such economic and political disruptions, supporting the opposition with a naïve hope for improving the situation. (3) Many people also have a tendency to not fully appreciate the significant societal effort that is involved in the providing of health care, education, and social services to an entire population, such that dissatisfaction with the government emerges, leading to a naïve hope for improvement through the opposition.
In this strategy of exploitation, the elite is seeking to confuse and manipulate the people, exploiting their limitations. The elite has the advantage of its ties to important economic and political actors on a global scale. The national and international elites form a partnership in opposition to a government seeking to develop an autonomous project in defense of the people. The elites control the international and national media of information, so that what the media sees and does not see is shaped by the particular interests of the elites. In addition, the elites have a stranglehold on the national economy, enabling them to cause economic disruptions. For a national elite whose particular interests are more important than patriotism, the strategy is not to persuade the majority, but to cause sufficient disruption to justify a foreign intervention.
Such is the battle unfolding in Venezuela, and it is merely one particular expression of a war on a global scale. On the one side are those powerful forces that are committed to defend their particular interests in the neocolonial world-system. Their policies are the weakening of states, the imposition of neoliberal economic policies, and military aggression. They are presently divided between the more aggressive militarism and narrow nationalism of the Right (represented in the United States by Trump) and a less aggressive combination of hard and soft power in seeking to preserve neocolonial domination (represented by Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama). On the other side are the movements and governments of the world that are proclaiming the unsustainability of the neocolonial world-system and the need to construct a more just, democratic and sustainable world-system (represented by the Non-Aligned Movement and ALBA).
The Left in the nations of the North ought to more fully understand the alternative project being developed by the movements and nations of the Third World, in order that we can effectively explain to our peoples the necessity of casting our lot with the forces of change that are emerging from below. If the peoples of the North were to form popular movements with knowledgeable appreciation of what ALBA, the Non-Aligned Movement and the governments of Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Iran and China are attempting to do, the prospects for the cooperative development of a just, democratic and sustainable world-system would be significantly enhanced.