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Pablo Armando Fernandez

Pablo Armando Fernandez, Cuban writer and poet, said that yesterday was a very special day for him on his trip to the municipality of Sucre. He told a story of visiting a newly constructed relief kitchen for the poor high in the hills of Petare, as part of a national food security program. "We went to a house where there was a line-up of about 30-40 young people waiting for lunch. We went to visit the kitchen where three women were cooking for these children. I hugged one woman cooking and tears welled up in my eyes. That woman is a saint. She doesn’t charge anything and works for the good of humanity," Fernandez said.

The Cuban writer said that he went to see other programs as well that impressed him. "The trip was precious. Very emotional. It showed us the definite changes that are taking place in this country that does not occur in any other place," Fernandez said.

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Michael Parenti

Michael Parenti, a political writer and historian from the U.S. is visiting Venezuela for the first time. He travelled to Hugo Chavez’s home state of Barinas yesterday to tour the social programs in the prairie state of Venezuela. "I do believe there is a kind of revolution that’s going on here. It’s non-violent. Those affecting that leftist change are not violent. However the opposition is," Parenti said.

Parenti described his visit to a dental program that is one of the latest additions to Venezuela’s health care program, Barrio Adentro. "In Barinas there are people there who saw dentists there for the first time in their lives who’ve had terrible dental problems. The dental program consisted of two Venezuelan and two Cuban dentists. They were treating this community of about 150,000 people, a large chunk of whom have never been to a dentist before. They do the basic things like cleaning, extraction, fillings and the like. It’s made a big difference for these people," Parenti said.

After talking to one of these Venezuelan dentists, Parenti said he learned that before Chavez and this program, many dentists were out of work. "People just could not afford to go. Now this dental program is free and it’s given to anybody including opponents to the government but in Barinas there aren’t too many since the overwhelming number are supporting what Chavez is doing," Parenti said.