Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/424/4969
Venezuela: Nurses protest in Caracas
"WE WANT the president's ear and the health minister's head". Over 50 nurses were protesting outside the Miraflores - President Chavez's palace in Caracas, Venezuela. They had blocked the road and were faced by a line of military police barring their way to the palace.
Christine Thomas, at the World Social Forum in Caracas, Venezuela
"We work in the Barrio Dentro health mission," Karina told us. "All we are demanding is respect and dignity for the work we do. Like the Cuban doctors who come over here to help we go into the clinics in the poor areas and help the people who cannot afford to go to hospital. This is important work but we don't have proper rights. I and four other nurses were sacked for speaking out - for standing up for our rights".
"We haven't been paid for seven months," shouted another nurse. "We get well below the minimum wage. Just over 300,000 Bolivares (£100 a month). We don't have the right to social security".
"Chavez open your eyes to what is going on," read one banner. "We have a good president - the best there is," said one of the protesters. "But in the ministries and the government there is the same corruption as before. When we try to say what is going on then the door is shut in our faces - we've had enough"
"The right has infiltrated the government," Jaqueline told us. "They must listen to the people. We are the ones who know what is going on. We don't just want a constitution, we want to participate and reclaim our rights. As women - we need the revolution - we need equality and social justice. This protest is successful. They tremble because they know we tell the truth".
We wished them well as we left and asked them how long they would be staying. "As long as it takes," they replied.
Following the 2006 World Social Forum, Socialist Students/International Socialist Resistance will be holding a series of Venezuela solidarity meetings at colleges in England and Wales. For details phone 020 8988 8791.
In The Socialist 26 January 2006: