Socialist Venezuela now an exploding supernova of spreading infectious diseaseBy Monica Showalter So much for all that free health care. Now for what it looks like up close: Socialist Venezuela is now an exploding supernova of spreading disease vectors, with its three million fleeing refugees bringing measles, malaria, diptheria, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, AIDS, Zika, leprosy, dengue chikungunya virus and other diseases long thought to have been eradicated in the early 20th century, with them. What an advertisement for socialism that is. It’s the effect of the collapse of the country’s medical system, brought on by socialism’s unsustainable economics, and Venezuela’s Maduro dictatorship (unlike a lot of starving African countries) refusing to permit any aid to enter. Two alarming news reports (which eerily don’t intersect) have the exact same story: First, the Washington Post, which cites an academic/NGO report just out: Venezuela’s health system is in “utter collapse,” according to a report, including the exponential spread of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and diphtheria and “dramatic surges” in infectious diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis. The report, to be released Thursday by Human Rights Watch and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, is among the few that has sought to quantify Venezuela’s misery, as the country has ceased releasing health and nutrition data and retaliated against those who did. Based on interviews with doctors and other health personnel in Venezuela, conducted by telephone and online; refugees in Colombia and Brazil, including health care professionals; and representatives of humanitarian and international organizations, the report concludes that the United Nations should take the lead providing aid. Second, there’s this organic report from Bloomberg Latin America columnist Mac Margolis, which features interviews with hospital personnel and public health officials, all seeing the same nightmare on the ground: Half a century on, Venezuela is a hothouse for malaria again, but also communicable miseries from HIV/AIDS to Zika. Forgotten diseases such as diphtheria and measles rage. Leprosy, tuberculosis and typhoid fever are back, alongside emerging mosquito-borne viruses, such as dengue, Zika and chikungunya. New HIV infections jumped 24 percent from 2010 to 2016. Now the worst humanitarian crisis in the Americas risks becoming a hemispheric emergency, as nearly 3 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants ferry their pathogens across the continent. But when such migrants travel, they also carry ills that Venezuela’s neighbors thought they’d beaten. After logging just one case of measles between 2008 and 2015, Brazil reported more than 10,000 infections last year. Most patients bore D8 genotype measles, the dominant strain circulating in Venezuela. The Venezuela epidemic has also been linked to outbreaks in Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. The World Health Organization reckoned that a Venezuelan malaria outbreak was responsible for 84 percent of the increase in infections in the Americas in 2017. Venezuela alone kicked in 53 percent of all reported cases regionally in 2016 and 2017. “The human exodus has become a disease exodus. Contagion is one of our most prolific exports,” Venezuelan infectious disease pathologist Alberto Paniz-Mondolfi, a member of the Venezuelan National Academy of Medicine, told me. So as the West is forced to admit Venezuelan refugees (and unlike the Central Americans, these are real ones), each and every one of them is potentially a carrier, if not openly suffering from, of some of the most awful and once-thought-eradicated diseases from the 19th century. Next time a socialist speaks of ‘progress’ remember that this is what socialists deliver on their ‘progress.’ It amounts to biological warfare on the West, given that people outside Venezuela’s socialist zone of misery are going to die from these diseases which had long been eradicated from the capitalist West up until now. It shows that in socialism, the ends always justifies the means. Venezuela’s Maduro dictatorship has not only have collapsed their own medical system, allowing their people to go to hell, (something all socialist countries throughout the 20th century have had a comparable record on), they have also wiped out disease data, and threatened and punished anyone trying to find out the truth, as the Washington Post report notes at the end. Noting that the deprivation long predates recently imposed U.S. sanctions, it said that “Venezuelan authorities under Maduro have concealed the official health information. They have harassed and retaliated against those who collect data or speak out about food and medicine shortages.” The Washington Post reports that the United Nations should get involved, which is an idea. But good luck with that one, given the Maduroites’ callous indifference to the lives of both its own people and those of its neighbors. They see any intervention as a threat to their own power and are unlikely to allow it. This is what socialism is, up close.