President Hugo Chavez has found a way to explain the disappearance of Cuban doctors from the Barrio Adentro mission: It’s the opposition’s fault.
In a speech today at the Teresa Carreño theater in Caracas, Chavez accused new Miranda Governor Henrique Capriles Radonski of evicting Cuban doctors from the homes and apartments acquired by former Governor Diosdado Cabello as lodgings for the Cuban physicians.
Chavez also said Cuban doctors are being evicted from their government-provided lodgings in the states of Táchira, Zulia and Carabobo.
However, the president is making false accusations, again, as he habitually does.
The government-controlled news media would be jumping on this “news” like starving jackals on a calf if the president’s charge was truthful and accurate.
Television viewers would be getting bombarded with video of the doctors being evicted, with interviews, etc. Ministers would be calling press conferences to condemn the opposition’s abuses against the people. Pro-Chavez street gang leaders like Lina Ron would be threatening the opposition with street actions. The talking parrots of the National Assembly would be screeching en masse.
But none of this is happening, because the president’s accusations are untrue.
However, it’s true that Cuban doctors assigned to Barrio Adentro missions have been disappearing mysteriously for several years now. It’s impossible to quantify how many Cuban doctors have left their Barrio Adentro posts.
The Chavez regime controls that data very tightly, and the groups which may (or may not) be helping hundreds of Cuban doctors flee Venezuela in recent years aren’t going to expose themselves publicly and risk disrupting the freedom train’s daily departures from Venezuela.
The Cuban regime won’t acknowledge that many of the doctors it deployed to Venezuela on Barrio Adentro have used the Cuban-Venezuela alliance as a useful springboard to continue traveling clandestinely to Colombia, the US and Europe.
However, over the past three years there have been sporadic news reports in Venezuela about Cuban doctors clandestinely seeking political refuge in Colombia and the United States. The reports are 100% accurate.
The Simon Bolivar International Airport at Maiquetia is one of the main “freedom train” routes for Cubans deserting from their official missions in Venezuela.
Some travel to Colombia by air, but many travel on commercial flights that eventually get them to Guatemala’s capital city, where they travel by bus north to Guatemala’s border with Mexico. The Cuban refugees cross the border on foot, then are taken by bus all the way north to the border with Brownsville, Texas. Several Cuban doctors befriended by Caracas Gringo left Venezuela via this route.
The experience took about a week, included all the legally issued documents needed to travel safely by commercial flight from Maiquetia to Guatemala, and cost each Cuban about $8,000.
The cash was paid up-front in Caracas to Venezuelan military personnel with high-level access inside Maiquetia International Airport.
Our Cuban friends who escaped to freedom in the US were escorted around the airport’s immigration facilities and taken directly to the boarding gate, where they were handed tickets with boarding passes attached – all perfectly legal.
And they weren’t required to make more payments to their escorts in Guatemala and Mexico, suggesting the existence of a clandestine enterprise involving military personnel and other government officials in Venezuela, Guatemala and Mexico.
Our Cuban friends who left via Maiquetia now live happily in Miami. They report that US Immigration officials at the Brownville border crossing waved them through without any delays.