Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
22 October 2008

No wonder she had been drinking…..

The Science Daily reports on new research about the estimated amount of lives lost because of the delay in implementing a comprehensive antiretroviral programme in South Africa. It compares the situation in South Africa to that in neighbouring countries and come to the following conclusion:

More than 330,000 lives were lost to HIV/AIDS in South Africa from 2000 and 2005 because a feasible and timely antiretroviral (ARV) treatment program was not implemented, assert researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) in a study published online by the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.

In addition, an estimated 35,000 babies were born with HIV during that same period in the country because a feasible mother-to-child transmission prophylaxis program using nevirapine (an anti-AIDS drug) was not implemented, the authors write.

Wonder what Manto Tshabalala-Msimang and Thabo Mbeki would say about this study….

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