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Venezuela: Women with PIP breast implants demand justice while creating online support network

By Jennifer Barreto-Leyva

CARACAS — Women implanted with the faulty PIP breast implants have filed a lawsuit not only against the French company that made them, Poly Implant Prothèse (PIP), but the medical distributors who sold them in Venezuela: Galaxia Medica C.A, Locatel, C.A, Farmacias Locatel, Multi industrias Médicas Meltimed C.A, Locatel Servicios SRL y Locatel Franquicia C.A.

Gilberto Antonio Andrea, the lawyer who represents the majority of the 470 women affected by these implants, has filed in civil court a constitutional protection against medical distributors to make them co-responsible in removing the implants from the victims of this medical disaster.

Among the list of requests, Andrea is also demanding that medical distributors report what they earned with PIP sales and donate their half of the revenue to the affected women to help pay for damages.

The 2006 report on the dangers of PIP implants is what set the alarm among Venezuelan women, causing major anxiety. In December, the women got together, thanks to Facebook, creating a support group named “Afectadas por prótesis mamarias PIP Venezuela</em>” (Women affected by PIP breast implants in Venezuela.” The group currently has more than 2000 participants.

Calling for the women to receive safe and secure breast implant replacements was something Gilberto Antonio Andrea insisted upon several times during his first press conference representing the women.

He also let it be known that after this case is over, he will work for a law to protect patients from similar situations.

Venezuelan recipients of PIP breast implants hold a protest denouncing their safety.

In all honesty, as a lawyer, I don’t think this is a realistic petition. Our justice system doesn’t work like the American justice system and this was a typical movie-like lawsuit. Another issue to consider is the terribly strong circle of influence that the medical society has exhibited so far. There’s nothing, no law or justice, that can guarantee a patient their rights, at least in Venezuela.

I’m living proof of that.

This new drama in Venezuela is absolutely unnecessary if women could only learn to love themselves, embrace their natural beauty and not insist on being a bad copy of a Barbie doll.

“Poor, broken or homeless, BUT never fat or ugly” has become the sad motto of too many Venezuelan women who are paying too high a price for perfection that is only an illusion — and, in this case, could lead to breast cancer.

Learn more about Jennifer Barreto-Leyva

Jennifer Barreto-Leyva lives in Caracas, Venezuela where when this 5″11 venezolana is not defending the rights of her clients as a lawyer or inspiring people as a motivational speaker, she is an outspoken defender on the rights of plus-size people.

Jennifer is Miss Plump Venezuela and the first Latina who participated and won the Miss Universe for Plus-size title. She is also the first venezolana plus-size model and, consequently, is credited for introducing the plus-size modeling division throughout Latin America.

Since 1999, Jennifer has penned a regular column, Tu Rincon con Jen, for the only online site dedicated to plus size people in Spanish, In addition, Jennifer is also taking her message about body issues as a blogger with Estilos Blog, a celebrity blog based in Florida.

Because of her sassy outspokenness and willingness to force the issue that beauty does not lie with a person’s weight, Jennifer has found her message much in demand from South and North America to Europe and Asia.

As a result, Jennifer has launched the first spanish-language magazine in history for plus-size people — Belleza XL.

In addition, Jennifer continues to provide constant inspiration for women of all sizes through her blog and Facebook page. She says that she always knew that when it came to defending who she was, no one was going to do it for her.

I saw myself different (as a child), not only when it comes to my size but my beauty as well. I’ve always had to deal with people’s cruelty because they think I’m ugly and have no hesitation letting me know that. I had to be strong and mature when no one around was. I’m beautiful because I’ve decided and feel that way, not because everyone else says it is so.

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