Move over, America. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has found a new evil to target: boob jobs. He might actually have a point, for once. Venezuela has become one of the biggest markets in the world for breast augmentation, and the plastic surgery trend has become so severe that often women who can barely afford basic necessities squander or borrow money to enlarge their bustline.
According to the New York Times, Chávez took to state-controlled airwaves this past weekend to declare fake breasts "monstrous things" and blame doctors who "convince some women that if they don't have some big bosoms, they should feel bad."
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Indeed, between 30,000 and 40,000 women a year in Venezuela go under the knife for breast enhancements, and it's not uncommon for parents to get their daughters some silicone when they are as young as 15. Banks openly advertise loans meant to finance the surgery. In essence, fake boobs have taken over Venezuela (much as they've overtaken South Beach).
El Nacional, an opposition newspaper, compared Chávez to Muammar Qaddafi for the stance, and wrote that Chávez was displaying a "repressive attitude on the freedom of women to do what they want with their bodies."
Using language more commonly found in the abortion debate seems a bit overdramatic here, and, sure, El Nacional, we can see the Chávez and Qaddafi similarities on a lot of other fronts, but maybe this is a rare instance where Chávez is right. There's nothing wrong with preferring a woman's natural state, no matter the size.