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In a country where 25 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, the poor are given free botox because, “Beauty is a right and the poor deserve to be ravishing, too.”

I’m sure for the poor of Brazil, facial wrinkles are paramount concerns.

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According to several recent newspaper articles, Brazilian doctors in some 220 clinics across Brazil are treating the poor to free Botox. Never mind that these people don’t have enough money for food and shelter, we can all be thankful that they will look beautiful as they scrounge through bins on trash night and (the lucky ones) sleep on mats under cardboard at night. (True, one article mentions “a struggling housewife” who got treatment, but that could be any woman who lives in a favela, rides a bus for hours to get to work and back, and worries about feeding her family day to day.)

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What are these doctors thinking? Here’s a sample:

“Good looks, doctors argue, are more than skin deep, and by treating what patients view as physical flaws doctors are often also healing their psyches.

“‘What’s a wrinkle? Something minor, right? Something with precious little importance,’ Rosas said. ‘But when we treat the wrinkle, that unimportant little thing, we’re actually treating something very important: The patient’s self esteem.'”

Well, I know if I were living on the streets or struggling to survive another cold night, I’d certainly be worried about my self-esteem.

If these doctors want to give to the poor, how about they donate to a program that will teach the poor to read, or teach them a skill, or help them get basic medical care? Or donate to a fund for childcare centers, so children aren’t left in the favelas alone while families eke out a living. Or donate to shelters so the homeless have someplace to go at night, especially the families with children. Or clean water sources.

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Given that some 14,000 treatments have been “donated” in Rio’s clinics alone since 1997, at an estimated cost of $450 each minimum, I calculate the some $6,300,000 could have gone a long way toward alleviating the pain of life in Rio and elsewhere, just with the Rio clinics.

I have yet to investigate free silicone treatments so that the poor of Brazil have the required bouncy boobs and bodacious butts merited by a healthy self-esteem.

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