Venezuela's descent under Bolivarian socialist President and de facto dictator Nicolas Maduro has achieved yet another grim milestone. This time it's the return of polio, on top of other previously eradicated diseases including diphtheria, tuberculosis, measles, and malaria.
The return of polio has caught the attention of some in the international press in the past few days, but only one of over a dozen related English stories found in early Monday afternoon Eastern Time Google News searches identified the nation or its leader as socialist. Also as of Monday afternoon, there was no coverage at major U.S. news outlets.
A Google News search on "Venezuela polio" (not in quotes, past week, without duplicates) returned 17 items, a dozen of which were in English.
The more prominent failures to mention any form of the word "socialism" included:
- Tech Times.
- Newsweek, which noted that polio has returned as "the country’s health care system struggles under a nationwide economic crash." Well, what caused the crisis?
- The Hong Kong Standard, which is "Hong Kong's biggest circulation English daily newspaper."
- The Inquisitr, a high-traffic U.S. news site.
- The UK Times.
The one exception was the UK Telegraph:
Even the Telegraph waited ten paragraphs to mention the S-word, after missing several easy early opportunities:
Venezuela hit by first case of Polio since 1989 as country falls deeper into crisis
Nearly 30 years after declaring Polio eradicated in Venezuela, the first case of the disease has been reported in the country as it reels from an economic crash crippling its healthcare system.
The case in the eastern state of Delta Amacuro was reported as basic vaccine coverage continued to fall amid the worsening political and economic crisis.
The news comes as the country faces an increase in other diseases, some also formerly eradicated, such as diphtheria, tuberculosis, measles, and malaria.
Polio, or poliomyelitis, can be a crippling childhood disease but is preventable through immunisation.
In Delta Amacuro, where the case was discovered, vaccine coverage only reached 67 per cent, according to a statement from a local watchdog group.
“The government is not approving the money for the vaccines,” said MP Manuela Bolivar, a member of the country’s opposition-controlled National Assembly who is studying the surge of infectious diseases.
President Nicolas Maduro has blamed the deteriorating situation on an “economic war” led by business interests and the United States to topple his socialist government, while denying that a humanitarian crisis exists.
The Google News search results also betrayed a decided lack of interest on the part of major U.S. news outlets in even mentioning the story, even among those with an international presence, and even though the UK Times story mentioned earlier appeared on June 8.
Confirming that disinterest, searches at the following websites on "Venezuela polio" (not in quotes) at 1:20 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday returned no recent or relevant results:
- The Associated Press
- The New York Times
- The Washington Post
- The Los Angeles Times
- ABC News
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.