The Venezuelan Ambassador to the United States, Carlos Vecchio, insisted on the urgency of providing Venezuela with vaccines against COVID-19 and advancing a credible vaccination plan, with the support of mechanisms such as COVAX and allies such as the United States, were they can allocate the surplus vaccines to the Venezuelan brothers who are fighting in the front row against the pandemic, thus counteracting the obstacles imposed by the dictatorship.
He reported that the diplomatic mission under his charge has raised to the U.S. Government the proposal to support Venezuelans with the donation of vaccines from their surplus. “The U.S., given the development of its vaccination program, may be in a better condition to help provide vaccines to Venezuela, as it has already announced for other countries. A similar mechanism as the one they used to help Mexico and Canada, and are now helping India. We have raised it as a request to the U.S. Government and we could soon have an important response in that regard. The pandemic in Venezuela is a global problem that requires a global solution,” he added.
Vecchio led a virtual meeting to pay tribute to Venezuelan doctors and healthcare professionals in the U.S., organized by the Venezuelan Embassy, where he stressed that “the pandemic is overtaking us in Venezuela, the vaccination system is non-existent and the vaccination plan is not serious and even less effective. Unfortunately, what we have seen with the few vaccines that have arrived is that they are for the members and relatives of the regime, not for those who face COVID-19 on the front line or the Venezuelans who need it most.”
He specified that since the beginning of the pandemic, the Interim Government of President Juan Guaidó has promoted proposals with civil society so that doctors in Venezuela “can have protection, have a vaccination plan attached to scientific and humanitarian criteria” and to push for Venezuela to enter the COVAX mechanism, pressure that “made the regime agree.”
Venezuela has the highest rate of death of doctors by COVID19
The Venezuelan diplomat recognized the courage and willingness to serve all the “Health Heroes” or medical personnel in Venezuela, where they are living “an apocalyptic scenario.”
“The closest thing to a hero is a doctor. Despite the conditions present in Venezuela, they are still there saving lives and risking their own lives. They face COVID-19 without protection, without equipment or materials. The highest rate of deaths of doctors are those of Venezuela. That is why the least we can do is raise our voice, promote the aid mechanisms and acknowledge that effort and work that they do as President Guaidó has done.”
The Venezuelan Embassy recognized on Wednesday night the work of health physicians in the United States. “You have fulfilled a double commitment: to attend to the pandemic in North American territory putting your life at risk, but permanently looking for ways to help your colleagues in Venezuela and your compatriots in the face of the harsh conditions under the pandemic,” said Vecchio.
Sixty five Venezuelan doctors practicing in the United States received a certificate of recognition for their work from the Embassy. There was a special tribute to doctors Robert Friedlander and José Esparza, as well as to the professional organizations Venezuelan American Medical Association (VAMA), represented by Rafael Gottenger; and Doctors United for Venezuela USA, represented by María Eugenia Guevara. Keeping Venezuela always present, they have promoted research, as well as the shipment of medical supplies, machines and tools to protect against COVID-19 to health personnel within Venezuela.
On behalf of the union, Dr. Esparza stressed that the pandemic added “one more serious problem to the complex humanitarian crisis,” and that’s why they consider the collaboration and cooperation of the international community necessary to address it.
At the meeting, they urged all Venezuelan doctors in the US to “write to their senators and congressmen” to request that part of the surplus of US vaccines be destined for Venezuela, to avoid what could be “a humanitarian catastrophe.”