He studied medicine, put on the white coat, entered a hospital to work in a specialty, and blindly believed in the maxims of Hippocrates. At first, imbued with a fascination for cells, muscles and tendons, he barely noticed that his colleagues walked in mended shoes, and that he himself did not earn enough to feed his family. He saw too much in the Artemis hospital: the professional greatness of some and the material disaster of all. One day it was announced with great fanfare that they were going to raise the salaries of all heath care workers. But barely 48 Cuban pesos, the equivalent of 2.00 convertible pesos — or about $1.60 U.S. — were added to his meager monthly salary.
So he and a friend wrote a letter to the minister of his profession, communicating the discontent among physicians at such a ridiculous increase. They managed to collect 300 signatures and delivered it to the Minister of Health, as well as to the Council of State, the seat of power on this Island. The answer came a few weeks later in the form of his expulsion from his specialty. Five months later both letter writers were fired and their university degrees stripped away. Five years have passed since those events, but neither of the two has been able to get work in a clinic as a doctor.
Last week, Jeovany Jiménez Vega — the protagonist and victim of this story — decided to go on a hunger strike in Marti Park in Guanajay, to demand from the Office of the Minister of Public Health, that he and his colleague Dr. Rodolfo Martinez Vigoa, be restored to the practice of medicine. In the same days when the Cuban news featured the air traffic controllers’ strike in Spain and the worker protests in Greece, two men languished very near to us and we heard nothing. Yesterday, fortunately, they resumed eating, because Jeovany has decided to open a blog to tell the world; to opt not for starvation but information. He believes that the letter that was signed by only a few could collect thousands of signatures, if it is made public and presented to all the trained doctors in this country stripped of their rights.
The new blog will be ready on Monday and will be announced via Twitter.