Erik's View: Chavez, Daffodils & the NHS

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Erik Redli is a university graduate from Slovakia who is currently living in London. Each week he gives his view on the events of the last seven days. This week, he casts his eye over Hugo Chazez's death,  a Mother's Day daffodil shortage and international students' right to the NHS. 

Death of Hugo Chavez

Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez died this week after a lengthy but secretive illness.

"Dictators usually live a long time, unless they are overthrown and executed. Hugo Chavez died at the comparatively young age of 58 which hints that he was not the traditional dictator, but a "21 century liberator"- a term he coined himself.

Recently, the president of Colombia said that Chavez was a model leader for the rest of South America. Many countries followed the Venezuelan process towards ‘21 century socialism' with a bit of democracy. However, Chavez‘s health has been debated for over a year. There are stories that he might have died long before the official announcement. The sudden cancelation of some public appearances only testifies to what could have been a political move playing for time.

By constitution a new election has to take place within 30 days and it would not be enough to decide on the successor. The regimes in South America are susceptible to pressure from lobby groups and paramilitary organizations - and I do not want to touch this topic.

It is hard to say whether Hugo Chavez was just another of the dictators or the real liberator holding out against the opposition. However, thousands of people following the coffin in tears and seven days of public mourning proves that world has lost one of its personalities. R.I.P Hugo Chavez."

Daffodil Shortage for Mother's Day

It has emerged that there is likely to be a shortage of daffodils to give for Mother's Day this year after the cold winter weather has left many not yet bloomed.

"Mother's day is celebrated on various days across the world. In our country (Slovakia), and I think in the whole of central Europe it falls on the first Sunday in May. In May, the daffodils, or indeed any kind of flower you think of at the last moment, are in full bloom. I usually just buy a small box of chocolates. Anyway, thanks for reminding me to call my mother."

International Students Refused NHS

A story broke this week that the government is considering limiting the use of the NHS to international students. 

"I think that if anyone is granted a student visa or otherwise accepted to the country, he should be given basic medical treatment. To avoid abuse, students should produce their university ID card in hospitals and to GPs.

Making them pay for the care would not help. Last Sunday I visited my friend- a central European who studies in London. Many of the students are living on a tough budget and would not have money to pay for healthcare. Some guys even learnt to cook in order to save money at the university canteens and snack bars(!), and, like my friend, many combine their studies with part-time work.

We can not blame them for their pursuit of a better future. Yes, there are some who abuse the system, but international students can not be made scapegoats."

"I also covered Justin Bieber in a column I write on rock and pop each week. Basically, if he decides to be late like Guns N' Roses, he should avoid the flamboyant arrival on wings like Lady Gaga."

Read more by Erik here.

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