Jeovany Jimenez Vega, 3 December 2021 — Things are going very badly in a country where any citizen can be punished with impunity for exercising their right to speak freely, something contrary to the constitutional norms that have been pillars of democracy for the last 25 centuries. When this aberration becomes a frequent practice, we can be sure that we are facing a failed society and a lousy government; but when the abuse of power becomes a chronic habit that constantly threatens everyone, then we are in the presence of an aberrant dictatorship. This is, without a doubt, the case of Castroism.
But if such a country is doing very badly, how much sadder or more disturbing will it be if the most extreme sanction is applied to a doctor — disqualification from exercising his profession — for reasons unrelated to his professional performance, but also with the inexcusable aggravation of doing so in the midst of the worst health crisis in the country’s history. And I am no longer speaking in the abstract, I am now referring to a real case, which recently occurred under the late-Castro remnants of President Miguel Díaz-Canel.
A few days ago, Dr. Alexander Jesús Figueredo Izaguirre was disqualified from practicing medicine for issuing critical judgments on his social network against the misrule that ruins millions of fellow citizens. Some neophyte on the subject of Cuban could presuppose a misunderstanding here, but their doubts will be dispelled as soon as they know that something like this has already happened before: in 2006, two doctors from Artemisa were also definitively disqualified for something as natural and simple as submitting a salary demand signed by a group of colleagues to the then Minister of Public Health José Ramón Balaguer; of the case of Dr. Darsi Ferrer Ramírez, who died in 2017 in Florida under very strange circumstances; or when they learn that Dr. Eduardo Cardet, national coordinator of the Christian Liberation Movement, served a three year sentence in Fidel Castro’s prisons.
There are also other renowned cases in this painful sequel to the dictatorship, such as that of Dr. Hilda Molina, exiled in Argentina, or that of other analogous although less well-known ones, counted by dozens, as well as thousands of other colleagues punished mercilessly for abandoning onerous work contracts in one of the official foreign Medical Missions maintained by the Cuban regime across half the planet which have have brought the regime hundreds of billions of those dirty, convertible and imperialist dollars that are both enemies and well tasty treats for the Castro palate.
For all this, on the Day of Latin American Medicine, it was so outrageous that the Cuban health authorities once again tried to hide with gilded tributes the harsh reality experienced 365 days a year by tens of thousands of workers and professionals from all medical branches in a Cuba that more than living are dying under the overwhelming boot of the dictatorship.
Empty talk will have been of no use if the same workers presented to the world as a saving panacea when they are exported as part of the Henry Reeve Brigade suddenly become irresponsible bums by the grace of a Prime Minister as soon as the regime tries to wash its hands to evade its obvious responsibility in the disastrous management of the COVID crisis – so scandalous was the reaction of the authorities to the brave denunciation of dozens of Holguin doctors – and meanwhile the Cuban doctor assigned to a ‘mission’ abroad continues to be treated like a true modern slave.
To bury this outrageous truth, the regime in Havana has worked hard during the reign of Raúl Castro before, and during Díaz-Canel’s pathetic buffoonery afterwards – since Fidel Castro did not even try – to export an image of change and renewal that has never been either sincere nor effective, nor in any sense real, since it has always sought to cover up its crime, gain time and delay as much as possible the arrival of authentic reforms that would shake the foundations of a totalitarianism of proven efficacy.
It is demonstrated that under Castroism any announcement of change must be understood as part of a broad spectrum of simulation, one more cynical delaying maneuver; pure showcase effect. Fifteen years have passed since that disturbing experience that fractured my life, but even before and throughout these five years, the intolerant and petty nature of a miserable regime that has not changed its tyrannical essence has remained an unalterable continuous line.
What changes are they talking about when new visible faces wear their masquerade and other hitmen carry out the same dirty work, when new dogs threaten these prisoners with the same arrogance and brutality as a backdrop? Let these recent examples serve as definitive proof, these broken lives as collateral damage that will hardly keep tyrants awake at night. After all, what will one more scratch on the tiger’s bloodied skin matter? Nothing, according to the superb logic of Caesar.