Friday, August 6, 2010


By: Norman Rodriguez
If it is true that God works in mysterious ways, then His most recent miracle in Belize, Miracle Mission, occurred between the 10th and 20th July, 2010, where 75 Belizeans from across the country received surgeries to remove cataract and Pterigium from one or both eyes. Mision Milagro, as it is called in Spanish is a humanitarian effort by the Venezuelan Government, through its Embassy in Belize, whereby needy Belizeans get free surgery to remove Cataract and Pterigium totally cost free. The surgeries are done in Caracas, Venezuela and three trips have gone to date in which approximately 300 Belizeans have received surgeries.

The Belize Coordinators
The Belize Coordinators and Patients
On Tuesday, 20th July, 2010, a Boeing 737 belonging to CONVIASA touched down at the Phillip Goldson International Airport bringing home the 80 Belizean patients who had gone to Caracas, Venezuela on this latest of three trips. The 80 patients, 75 of whom had successful surgeries to remove Cataract and Pterigium from one or both eyes and whom were accompanied by 8 coordinators and one General Cordinator, Mr. Emerson Gill, had left Belize on Saturday, 10th July, 2010 for Caracas Venezuela. While there, they were provided with complete food and lodging at the Hospital Militar Carlos Arevalo for the duration of the trip, free airfare, and their free eye surgeries and follow-up treatment.

Mision Milagro is a miracle for many poor Belizeans because it affords them the opportunity of getting their surgeries without having to pay a cent for these surgeries which range in the thousands. For many of those patients, they have been back and forth in Belize trying to get these surgeries on their eyes; however, constraints such as finance and other limited resources have caused some of them to wait very long periods. Miracle Mission began its mission in April and will continue until cataracts and Pterigiym pathologies are no more in the country. Patients are selected via a screening process in Belize based on Venezuelan doctor’s diagnostics. For many, who live in rural areas, Miracle Mission is a true blessing since it restores their sight without them having to pay a cent. The Mission continues on a monthly basis and the services improve with each successive trip to Venezuela. Miracle Mission’s next trip is scheduled to leave Belize on the 21st August, 2010 and patients remain in Venezuela approximately ten days.
Belizean Patients in Caracas

The Mayor’s Association, Coordinators, patients and their families, and all Belizeans express sincerest thanks to The Bolivarian Government of the Republic of Venezuela and its Embassy in Belize for the priceless gift of sight restoration and commit to continued support for all its humanitarian efforts in Belize.


Angela Palacio said...

Great story as usual Linda. Thanks very much for sharing this story. I did not see it on Belize news nor heard it on lovefm. I am happy for all the Belizeans who got their surgery.

Anonymous said...

The money spent on this "miracle", whether it is the Venezuelan or Belizean government paying for the surgeries, flights, food, accommodation and so on, would be far more efficiently spent improving the infrastructure in Belize. BCVI actually does pterygium surgery for $300Bz and cataract for $600Bz, a tiny fraction of the cost to send these patients to Venezuela. Belizeans often say that we should support Belizean businesses - well that should include home-grown Belizean NGOs. BCVI has been working to take care of Belizeans' eyes for almost 30 years, at affordable and flexible prices, with many patients getting their surgery for free when they truly cannot afford to pay. What if these patients coming back from Venezuela suffer problems after the surgery? You can be sure that the Venezualan/Belizean government will not want to pay to fly them back for every subsequent check-up and/or consultation they need as a result of their surgery. Instead they will most probably end up at BCVI. Belize should invest in its OWN healthcare system, and those NGOs that support it, like BCVI, BFLA, Hand-in-Hand Ministries and the like, instead of accepting "freebies" from overseas, when in actual fact the amount of money spent on these "freebies" could provide the same treatment to the same standard on Belizean soil for ten times as many people.

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