The Russian media reports what I seldom read in Venezuelan sources about Russian-Venezuelan relationships and definitely not in the state media. Take this piece of news:
A couple of days ago four Russian ships arrived to Puerto Cabello bringing ninety-two T-72B1 tanks like the one you see here:
They also brought BMP amphibious vehicles like these:
There were also other generals' toys like these, ammunition galore and a couple of other purchases to keep the military caste happy.
That was part of the deal for a 2009 credit the Venezuelan government got for over 2.2 billion dollars using mostly FONDEN money - the Fund for National Development, for which there is no real congressional control. Chávez also bought some Smetch anti-aircraft systems.
The generals still have to receive the weapons they decided to buy with a 4.4 billion dollar credit signed last year. They had spent several billions more in the years before that. Venezuela, according to Russian media, is the 10th largest importer of weapons on Earth...not bad for an underdeveloped nation of 29 million people.
So far Venezuela has got Sukhois 30MK2V, war helicopters of different types, Smetch anti-aircraft stuff, S-300 missiles and a huge amount of Kalashnikovs Yeah...and foreign apologists keep telling us that the budget for defence is lower than in other countries -never mind that is no longer the case and most of the money comes from Fonden and other parts of the budget-.
But my city, with over 1.2 million people, still has one single general public hospital, built over 45 years ago. The equipments for cancer treatment there are conked out most of the time. The paediatric wards there are collapsing and there have been many premature deaths lately because of serious infection problems. Poor patients have to buy medicine and other stuff from street vendors who usually get the equipment stolen from hospitals.
No wonder Chávez goes for cancer treatment in Cuba.
In Venezuela he just has the weapons to keep his generals happy. Syria's government is by far not as good a client for Russia's weapons barons as Venezuela's. Venezuela's military strongman pays Russians with the money from the Fondo de Desarrollo Nacional. No wonder Russia fully supports Chávez's permanence in power, no matter what.
Some sources - in Spanish - about the REAL health system in my region (not that it is worse than elsewhere, I just know every corner of it):
There is much more. You can always read the other version at the VTV state site. These links are what I got from 30 seconds of Google search with key words that came from the top of my head, but I could tell you a lot of personal stories about these problems as well.
The opposition? It prefers to use the very little money it gets in stuff like the PISA programme for education assessment. Miranda, where opposition candidate Henrique Capriles is governor, is the only region in Venezuela taking part in that PISA program. The Chávez regime prefers to say it gets assessments from Cuba...a country that claims to have excellent education levels even if it had them before the Revolution and even though it stopped taking part in open evaluation programmes a long time ago.