Venezuela Turns Confiscated Motels into Coronavirus Quarantine Prisons

A health worker takes a blood sample for a quick COVID-19 test from man who works selling
AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos

Venezuela’s socialist regime has confiscated privately-owned motels and turned them into prisons for those carrying the Chinese coronavirus, Voice of America detailed Monday in an exclusive report.

The motels, traditionally used for private sexual encounters, have been transformed into quarantine centers for those carrying or suspected to have the coronavirus. One of the detainees at La Montaña motel in the state of Maracaibo is a woman named Laura, taken there last week in a police vehicle after testing positive with a rapid test.

“I am desperate wondering if my family has what to eat,” she told the news outlet. “I am emotionally unstable. I feel kidnapped.”

Laura added that despite having air conditioning and a comfortable bed to lie on, she is forced to live in “deplorable” conditions without access to basic hygiene and living essentials such as soap, toothpaste, or deodorant.

The building is also repeatedly subject to long power outages as the country’s electrical grid continues to falter due to lack of maintenance. She is also constantly monitored by police and a councilor from the ruling Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), who have prevented anyone from visiting her.

“Everything is unsanitary,” she complained. “They cannot treat patients like this.”

She also described the food she is given in the facility. Lunch is nearly always rice with carrots and grated beetroot, while dinner is an empty arepa or a single cooked potato dipped in vegetable sauce. As a result, families have attempted to sneak in food and other products through unguarded areas of the building.

La Montaña is reportedly just one of 15 motels being used by the socialist regime to isolate coronavirus patients from the wider populace. Patients receive minimal medical treatment in the form of a Cuban slave doctor taking their temperature twice a day and an epidemiology specialist checking on them once a week.

Such measures raise questions about the severity of the coronavirus outbreak in Venezuela, where health authorities claim to have 7,411 cases and just 68 deaths. Many analysts have cast doubt over the veracity of the official figures, citing the country’s ongoing humanitarian crisis that has left its health system crippled and its population without access to adequate food and medicine.

They are also well below those of neighboring Colombia and Brazil, the latter of which has the second-highest number of cases worldwide. In May, Maduro ally and senior regime official Diosdado Cabello announced plans to crack down on scientists raising doubts about the accuracy of such statistics, declaring they had “not a single piece of evidence” to back up their claims.

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