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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chavez's Ire Directed at Implants

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez railed against a new trend in his beauty-conscious country -- giving girls breast implants for their 15th birthday.

"Now some people think, 'My daughter's turning 15, let's give her breast enlargements.' That's horrible. It's the ultimate degeneration," Chavez said on his weekly television show, which lasted a record eight hours.

Venezuela is well known for its beauty queens, who have regularly won world crowns, and many women have plastic surgery in the oil-rich country, where there is widespread spending on consumer items that would be considered luxuries elsewhere.

But Chavez, the anti-U.S., self-styled revolutionary who took office in 1999, is seeking to change those attitudes to create the "new man" to build a socialist society in this South American nation.

Chavez complained about the new fad of giving the plastic surgery operation at 15 -- when Latin Americans celebrate a girl's coming-of-age -- during a diatribe against Western consumerist icons, such as Barbie dolls.

Chavez's answer? He has told his supporters to give away any extra goods they do not need, urging them to leave items such as fans or refrigerators in town squares.

While breast implants are advertised on television, and banks offer special credit lines for such operations, girls are not expected to become sexually active after getting the enlargements.