Adrift on Firm Land / Luis Felipe Rojas

Photo by: Luis Felipe Rojas

He worked for years in the Urbano Noris sugar plant.  He complied with all of the daily chores required by his job.  He was useful.  And efficient.  But today, he is another one of the many Cubans floating adrift.

Humberto Hernandez Palma lives in San German and worked in the Urbano Noris central for quite some time, but now he has been faced with something very difficult.  He is sick.  He has gone through the medical commission in his region three times in just one year.  During the first occasion- he told me- they diagnosed him with “table one”, which means that he is completely limited in his physical strength.  However, the provincial medical commission refused to recognize that measure and handed him a report which stated he had “median limitation of physical force”.

He sought answers within what he thought was fair- the National Medical Commission- but in November, the National Commission responded that they denied his request for medical leave.  He tried to find some answers in the sugarcane production plant Urbano Noris but there they also told him that he does not meet the necessary prerequisites to have a medical leave on the grounds of health problems.  During recent times he has also started to suffer from serious heart conditions (cardiopathy).

They then sent Humberto to the Labor and Social Security Department of the municipality to obtain 60 percent of the salary in one year, to later end up unemployed and with serious difficulties to buy all the medicines he would need to take care of his heart condition.  He is another Cuban who, amid sugarcane and some light smoke, has ended up floating adrift with his horizon plagued by countless dark clouds.

Translator: Raul G.

20 December 2011