Solidarity Brigade to Caracas

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Mission Miraglo in Cuidad Bolivar

On August 3, Brigada Primera met Carlos Alling Putuy, a Cuban doctor working in Mission Miraglo at the 5th Jungle Infantry Division military base in Ciudad Bolivar.

With a proud stance and a broad smile he tells us of arriving in Venezuela 18 months ago for his first international mission. He joined Mission Miraglo four months ago, this social mission brings Venezuelans to Cuba for free eye surgery.

Sitting relieved at the military base is a family of eight whose grandmother is joining the two week round trip to have her cataracts removed, something they never dreamed of being able to do says Yamilka, a family member.

Yamilka´s mother will travel a companion of her choice throughout the two week trip. The whole group, which is accompanied by a team of doctors, will travel by bus to Caracas, the capital, then by plane to Cuba for treatment and then back again to Ciudad Bolivar for absolutely no cost to them or their families.

Next is the expansion of this program to 100 000 Latin Americans and poor people in the United States, announced by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on July 31 on his weekly TV program ´Alo Presidente´. The expansion is another component of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), a cooperative trade plan put forward Venezuela and Cuba in opposition to Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), pushed by the US government.

For comprehenisve information on Venezuela´s social missions visit the Venezuelan goverment site www.gobiernoenlinea.gob.ve.

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