Hugo Chavez Speaks Out Against Breast Enhancement

Posted on March 17, 2011 | by

True to form, Hugo Chavez has taken to his soapbox to condemn Venezuela’s latest adversary. But instead of directing his verbal venom at a foreign dignitary or economic system, the Venezuelan leader has taken on a pop-culture fixture that he calls a “monstrous thing”—breast augmentation.

According to a New York Times article, Chavez appeared on state television last weekend to denounce Venezuela’s burgeoning breast enhancement market, criticizing the amount of money spent on cosmetic procedures and shaming plastic surgeons who Chavez says “convince some women that if they don’t have some big bosoms, they should feel bad.”

Leading Venezuelan plastic surgeon Dr. Ramon Zapata disagreed with Chavez’s take on cosmetic breast surgery, saying, “I don’t think there should be any type of discrimination against these aesthetic procedures.”

El Nacional, an opposition newspaper, unsurprisingly also contested Chavez’s comments, comparing the Venezuelan leader to Libyan leader Muammar el-Qaddafi and saying, “Now comes this antiquated, militaristic, coarse, repressive attitude on the freedom of women to do what they want with their bodies.”

Regardless of whether one agrees with Chavez’s comments, they are well-timed in their delivery. Billboards in the country’s capital advertise loans for plastic surgery, gossip blogs teem with talk about cosmetic enhancement and the Venezuelan Society of Plastic Surgeons estimates that between 30,000 and 40,000 Venezuelan women seek breast implant surgery each year.

Although Chavez has questioned the motives of breast augmentation patients, asking, “What is this, friend?!” he has not yet taken any action to prevent the thousands of Venezuelan women who desire bigger breasts from seeking plastic surgery, nor Venezuelan plastic surgeons from offering the procedure.