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Hugo Chavez's criticism of breast implants angers Venezuelan women

September 22, 2011 - Washington

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez may have only few supporters left if he aims to ban breast implants in his country, where nothing is more valued than feminine beauty.

Breast implants have became very popular among women of the country, which holds six Miss Universe titles and five Miss World titles.

According to the Venezuelan Society of Plastic Surgeons, nearly 40,000 women in Venezuela undergo breast augmentation each year, and many sacrifice plenty to do so.

Implants can cost anywhere from 2,000 dollars to 5,000 dollars.

This kind of public attitude towards breast implants explains why most people were shocked when Chavez made an out-of-the-blue address on state-run television earlier this year, venomously criticizing doctors who rake in cash from performing breast augmentation.

He also criticized poor women who pay for these costly breast implant procedures that they couldn't afford, calling it "a monstrous thing."

Dr. Pete Romer, the Michelangelo of plastic surgery, who has personally nipped, tucked and enhanced thousands of Caracas women, including two of Venezuela's pageant queens said he didn't think President Chavez should tell people how to spend their money.

"We have a free country," ABC News quoted him as saying.

Venezuelan women agree with Romer and think the government doesn't have the right to restrict the freedom of women to do what they want with their own bodies.

"It's a silly thing. It's a personal choice," one woman said.

But there are still some people who think the president has a point.

"It's a lot of money, of course well beyond the means of most Venezuelans," said Eva Gollinger, one of Chavez's advisers.

"That's the major criticism that President Chavez was saying. This is not where your money should be invested in," Gollinger stated.


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