Disqualified to Speak

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.

Click here to read the declaration, “Interrupting the Strike.” Here is a brief statement by Jeovany Jiménez Vega.

The new blog will be ready on Monday and will be announced via Twitter.


8 thoughts on “Disqualified to Speak

  1. One rare post from the delusional and disoriented team “yoani” that id actually worth of reading.

    Sadly, being such a rare event, it merely confirms that the “fighters for pragmatic capitalism” have squat (meaning nothing) to say of value and contribute to the debate about Cuban situation. Despite thousands of stories like this one, the failed wannabies behind this joke of a “blog” think that school dress and rules are the “invasion and violation of personal freedoms in Cuba…

    Did I mention what a joke this “blog” it is?

  2. OTTOWA CITIZEN: Three Cuban doctors sent to aid Chilean quake victims defect-Doctors called it a “painful decision’, informed organizer via email-By Agence France-Presse, AFP

    SANTIAGO – Three Cuban doctors who came to Chile to provide aid in the days following a devastating February earthquake have decided not to return home with their delegation, an aid group said Friday.
    An emergency physician, a trauma specialist and an anaesthesiologist have decided to remain in Chile, Chile Solidarity with Cuba spokesman Dagoberto Hernandez told Radio Cooperativa.

    He said one of the doctors informed him via email, calling it a “painful decision.”

    “We do not agree with how they are going about this, because there are mechanisms for immigrating to Chile, but we understand the personal reasons behind the decision,” Hernandez said.

    Cuba’s Ambassador to Chile Ileana Diaz-Arguelles downplayed the incident.

    “For those who have decided not to return to their homeland, it is a personal decision, but what is important is that most people return,” she said.

    The three doctors were part of a 1,600-strong contingent of doctors assembled by Cuban leader Fidel Castro in 2005 to aid US flood victims after Hurricane Katrina.

    The aid was declined by Washington, which severed diplomatic relations with the Caribbean island nation following Castro’s 1959 communist revolution.

    Nearly 30 Cuban doctors were sent to Chile in the aftermath of the magnitude 8.8 earthquake that struck on February 27, causing a huge tsunami that swept away entire coastal villages.

    The twin disasters killed more than 500 people and caused some 30 billion dollars in damage.

    The rest of the doctors were expected to return to Cuba on Friday


  3. EL UNIVERSAL (Venezuela):Seven Cuban doctors sue Cuba and Venezuela over “modern slavery”

    Seven Cuban doctors and a nurse sued Cuba, Venezuela and the state-run oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (Pdvsa) for alleged conspiracy to force them to work in conditions of “modern slaves” in order to pay off the Cuban debt with the Venezuelan government for oil supply.

    The defendants “intentionally and arbitrarily” held the health staff in “debt servitude” and the staff became “economic slaves” and “political advocates,” according to the complaint filed in the United States, Efe reported.

    The charges were made last Friday in a Federal Court in Miami by doctors Julio César Lubian, Ileana Mastrapa, Miguel Majfud, María del Carmen Milanés, Frank Vargas, as well as John Doe and Julio César Dieguez, and the nurse Osmani Rebeaux.

    In the complaint, the leading defense attorney Arístides Cantón argued that the plaintiffs travelled to Venezuela in “deceit” and “threats,” and were forced to work unlimited hours in a social welfare program known as “Mission Barrio Adentro,” in areas with high rate of crime.


  4. One rare post from the delusional and disoriented team “yoani” that id actually worth of reading.

    Sadly, being such a rare event, it merely confirms that the “fighters for pragmatic capitalism” have squat (meaning nothing) to say of value and contribute to the debate about Cuban situation. Despite thousands of stories like this one, the failed wannabies behind this joke of a “blog” think that school dress and rules are the “invasion and violation of personal freedoms in Cuba…

    Did I mention what a joke this “blog” it is?

  5. This is probably the only post ever from the useless team “yoani” that is worth the reading. Being such a rare occurence, it only confirms the sad facts: the team “yoani” are just a bunch of disoriented and delusional wannabe dictators who are licking usanian arses in order to achieve their goal. If that were not the case, the team “yoani” would have a lot more stories like this one. Instead, we were served crying and nonsense about the “school rules”, taxists thorwing comments at women on the street or in taxis, or those comments about the architecture… Legendary stuff that has little or nothing to do with the real cause of all evil in Cuba: the usa blockade and the incompetence of Castros to make socialism work.

    And in doing so they are no better than the Castros. Lies and deception are their weapon, just as that of their real idols, the Castros.

    So it is really a matter of going from a donkey to a mule.

    But we already know only too well not to expect anything intelligent from either.


    WASHINGTON POST: Pro-govt crowd shouts down protesters in Cuba-December 9, 2010
    HAVANA — A Cuban opposition group marched through the capital to call attention to jailed dissidents Thursday, amid a shower of jeers, insults and pro-government slogans from counterprotesters.

    About five dozen members of the Ladies in White and their supporters held one of their customary protests on the eve of International Human Rights Day, leaving from the home of leader Laura Pollan and marching to a public park.

    A crowd formed to follow and harangue the women, calling them “worms” and “traitors.” “Viva la revolucion!” they shouted, and “This street belongs to Fidel!”

    The pro-government crowd grew to about 100 as the march continued. One motorist stopped his car and got out to join them.

    State security agents were on hand. There was some pushing and shoving, but nobody was hurt.

    When the march ended back at Pollan’s home, the pro-government crowd melted away.

    The Ladies in White was formed in 2003 by the wives and mothers of 75 leading political opposition leaders, activists and social commentators who were arrested and sentenced to lengthy prison terms on charges including treason. The government alleges that all the dissidents are paid by Washington to undermine the political system.

    Most of those arrested have since been released, many under an agreement brokered by the Roman Catholic Church earlier this year.

    Church officials have said they expect the last 11 to be freed soon, even though a Nov. 8 deadline to complete the deal has passed.

    Pro-government “acts of repudiation” against dissidents happen a few times a year, but there have been none since the church agreement was announced July 7.

    In December 2009, government supporters broke up two tiny marches observing International Human Rights Day and chased away a British diplomat on hand to observe, pounding on his car as he drove away.


  7. GET THE CEO’S (Castro-Endless-Oppressors) OUT OF CUBA!!

    EL PAIS: Cuba carece de recursos para sobrevivir más de dos años-Los consejeros comerciales de China, España, Francia, Italia, Canadá, Japón y Brasil anticipan una “fatal” situación económica antes de lo previsto. El italiano habla de la “insolvencia” en 2011

    La crisis financiera global y la incapacidad para atender la servidumbre de su cuantiosa deuda externa agravarán la situación económica de Cuba hasta extremos que pueden ser “fatales en dos o tres años”, según el pronóstico de los representantes en La Habana de dos países acreedores, Francia y Japón, y de los consejeros comerciales de China, aliado político y comercial de Cuba, España, Brasil, Italia y Canadá (EEUU), principales inversores en la isla después de Venezuela.

    Pese al sombrío futuro es improbable una liberalización sustantiva, señala el cable de la Sección de Intereses de Estados Unidos número 248021, fechado en febrero de este año, que recoge las conclusiones del almuerzo organizado por el consejero político y económico de la legación norteamericana con los siete técnicos internacionales acreditados en Cuba. La previsión del italiano es alarmante: “Italia dice que sus fuentes en el gobierno de Cuba sugieren que Cuba podría ser insolvente en el 2011”. Al consejero chino le exaspera la rigidez cubana. “Un dolor de cabeza”, dice

    Las aperturas estructurales que facilitarían el despegue de la centralizada economía comunista no acaban de ejecutarse, mientras el gobierno de Raúl Castro “se retuerce las manos en las indecisión porque teme las consecuencias políticas de cambios largamente demorados”, escribe Jonathan D. Farrar, jefe de la Sección de Intereses, al resumir la opinión de sus colegas.

    El cultivo privado de tierras ociosas, una reforma potencialmente significativa, aplicada en 2009, no ha sido efectiva por la inexperiencia de los adjudicatarios y la carencia de maquinaria, capital y mercados. Los consejeros calculan que si “la inestable Venezuela” reduce significativamente su ayuda económica, centrada fundamentalmente en el envío de cerca de 90.000 barriles diario de petróleo, Cuba podría verse avocada a reformas similares a las aplicadas, a la fuerza, durante el Período Especial de principios de los noventa. La revolución cubana perdió entonces los multimillonarios subsidios soviéticos y casi quiebra. “El pueblo cubano ha nacido acostumbrado a los tiempos difíciles y responderá a las próxima convocatoria oficial a apretarse el cinturón con similar aguante”, anticipa Farrar en su informe al Departamento de Estado.

    Oficialmente, la situación financiera no es tan crítica, teniendo en cuenta el embargo norteamericano de hace medio siglo y los dos golpes demoledores del 2009: dos huracanes que consumieron miles de millones de euros en pérdidas. El pasado dos de noviembre, durante la inauguración de la feria comercial de La Habana, el ministro de Comercio Exterior, Rodrigo Malmierca, afirmó que en los nueve primeros meses del 2009 al crecer las exportaciones y caer radicalmente las importaciones, el déficit fiscal se redujo en 2.949 millones de euros.

    Deuda exterior

    Las tendencias financieras, contribuyeron al aumento de los ingresos nacionales, según el ministro, “y nos han permitido a enfrentar gradualmente los problemas de liquidez en las finanzas externas”. La deuda exterior de Cuba alcanzó los 17.800 millones de dólares en el año 2007, con tendencia alcista, según las cifras disponibles.

    Las reformas previstas por el gobierno permitán la actividad privada en 178 actividades y descentralizarán, en alguna medioda, la gestión. El Estado controla hasta ahora el 90% de la economía nacional.

    Las valoraciones recogidas por el anfitrión estadounidense son pesimistas, discurren en la dirección contraria a la comentada por el ministro, y coinciden en mencionar el creciente protagonismo de las Fuerzas Armadas al frente de las empresas estatales. “La economía cubana está progresivamente manejada por ingenieros militares que son capaces de llevar el día a día de los negocios, pero no tienen la visión de promover reformas que saquen al país del desorden económico y la economía centralizada”. Los consejeros comerciales dicen que la dirección económica ha sido más centralizada aun y los ministerios económicos restringen las consultas. “El francés se quejó de que las finanzas del gobierno cambiaron del Banco Central al ministerio de Economía y Planificación, y que con ese cambio ya no tiene acceso ni a la información, ni a los funcionarios”.

    Cuba redujo drásticamente las importaciones, con la consiguiente pçerdida de mercancías y artículos antes a disposición de la sociedad, e instó a la mayor productividad local, a todas luces insuficientes para cubrir las apatencias y necesidades de una población de 11 millones de personas. El consejero comercial español argumentó en el almuerzo que apenas hay espacio en Cuba para reducir sus importaciones después de un recorte del 37% en el 2009. Sólo selvan las compras básicas. “Los problemas de cobro afectan a todos los países. A pesar de haber reestructurado toda su deuda oficial en 2009, Japón no ha recibido ningún pago. Incluso China admitió tener problemas para cobrar a tiempo y se quejó de las peticiones cubanas de extender las condiciones de los créditos de uno a cuatro años”, continúa el informe a Washington.

    Los chinos desaprueban la rigidez cubana en la constitución de empresas mixtas. “No importa si la inversión extranjera en un negocio es de diez o cien millones de dólares, la inversión del gobierno de Cuba siempre se subirá hasta el 51% (para ejercer el control de la sociedad)”, dijo el consejero comercial chino con visible exasperación”, según reproduce Farrar. “Cualquier discusión acerca de reformas tipo chino, fundamentalmente las referidas a la inversión extranjera, son difíciles, “un dolor de cabeza”, dice el chino”. El almuerzo prosigue con adivinanzas sobre la orientación de la política cubana. El consejero canadiense aventura que, contrariamente a Fidel Castro, Raúl necesita de “la maquinaria” del Partido Comunista Cubano (PCC) para implementar los cambios, se abunda sobre “la variable venezolana” , mientras al encargado de redactar el informe sobre Cuba para el Departamento de Estado, Jonathan D. Farrar, lo concluye así: “El gobierno cubano continúa confuso, en gran medida porque sus líderes están paralizados por miedo a que con las reformas perderán el poder al que se han aferrado durante más de 50 años”.


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