Retired oil workers with Petroleos de Venezuela -PDVSA in Spanish- went to the People Defense Office in Nueva Esparta state to demand health insurance coverage, an interruption they claim is causing the death of the oil industry retirees.
In Caracas, fellow retiree activists claim that the government owed more than $2 billion in pension funds. The oil industry under Maduro is a shambles, producing some 900,000 barrels a day, from the 3.5 million oil barrels a day it had produced in January 1999, when Hugo Chavez took over, and the Bolivarian Revolution began.
Ramon Chavez Perez, head of the Association of Oil Industry Retirees in Nueva Esparta, said that they continue to fight until they get an answer.
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“We are putting in another writ because the health system is not working on the island or anywhere in Venezuela, and we are trying to reactivate that case. We don’t have insurance of any kind, if there is a sick person, we have to run to a CDI (public health scheme), which is not ideal, and we are seeing many retirees dying, an average of three or four a week,” he said.
More than 550 ex-workers in the region are affecting by the interruption in coverage, stemming from lack of payment by the government to the clinics that honored their health insurance plan, to the point that none will take them as patients, Ramon Chavez said.