• Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Ticos come home with new eyes

June 27, 2008
Some 93 Costa Ricans returned home late last week after undergoing free eye surgery in Venezuela, a gift from President Hugo Chávez’s government.
 
The Venezuelan Embassy in Costa Rica is now expanding the program, “Operation Miracle,” which has treated some 800 Ticos and thousands of other Latin Americans since October 2005.
 
About 88 percent of Costa Ricans are insured under the state’s socialized health-care system, the Caja, but long waits for appointments drive some Ticos to seek other options.
 
“The lines are very long, and there aren’t enough ophthalmologists” at the Caja, said Fernando Sandí, who works for the Caja as a nurse but still opted for surgery in Venezuela.
 
Under Operation Miracle, Venezuelan doctors travel to Costa Rica to examine Ticos with eye trouble. Patients with cataracts or pterygium, a benign growth on the eye, qualify for treatment.
 
The Venezuelan government pays for the airfare, the surgery, housing and food during the patients’ 10-day stay in Venezuela. Ticos need only pay the $26 tax that Costa Rican airport authorities charge for leaving the country.
 
In past months, Venezuelan doctors have performed exams only at the ambassador’s house in San José and at Alunasa, a Venezuelan-owned aluminum processing plant in the Pacific slope town of Esparza.
 
But in June, doctors visited other parts of the country, including rural areas and some indigenous communities.
 
“The embassy’s new policy is to go to all of Costa Rica – not make people come here” to San José, said Eduardo Medina, who works on Operation Miracle at the embassy. “We are going to cover all of Costa Rica, from north to south and east to west.”
 
The new outreach efforts have attracted more Ticos to the program. Two Venezuelan state planes are set to transport 186 Tico patients to Venezuela in July – more than twice the usual monthly number.

You may be interested

Costa Rica unemployment rate drops to 19%
Costa Rica
2537 views
Costa Rica
2537 views

Costa Rica unemployment rate drops to 19%

The Tico Times - March 4, 2021

Unemployment in Costa Rica fell to 19.1% in the moving quarter from November to January. This maintained a downward trend…

Throwback Thursday: 2006 Arenal Volcano lava flows
Arenal
4796 views
Arenal
4796 views

Throwback Thursday: 2006 Arenal Volcano lava flows

The Tico Times - March 4, 2021

Arenal Volcano's July 1968 eruption destroyed three small villages, killed 87 people and wiped out 232 square kilometers of crops…

MOPT warns of higher traffic accidents as measures are eased
Costa Rica
1328 views
Costa Rica
1328 views

MOPT warns of higher traffic accidents as measures are eased

Alejandro Zúñiga - March 4, 2021

The Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) is reminding drivers to follow the rules of the road when traveling this…