Interview Given to Praxis / Jeovany Jimenez Vega

Interview of Dr. Jimenez Vega Jeovany by Praxis, local newsletter of Guanajay Catholic Church, published in its latest edition.

An unprecedented event, for the social responsibility that a great part of the people have assumed, and especially people from Guanajay and particularly an important sector of the Catholic Church, deserves a few lines from its protagonist.

Praxis – Why are you, again, on a hunger strike?

J.J.V. – I do not believe in hunger strikes as a method of social struggle or complaint, I consider it uncivilized, and life-threatening. But at the same time we must recognize that it is used only when the power this opposes us is equally uncivilized. If in our country the a State of Law reigned, such conduct would not be necessary, but it comes when a citizen is crushed by an overwhelming power, knowing himself the victim of an injustice against which he has tried every possible recourse to remedy the situation.

Praxis – We don’t know if you are a Christian but so you sense the special accompaniment of the Church, priest, Bishop, religious, lay and Catholic press. Are they mediating your demand?

J.J.V. – The relationship between State and Church in Cuba today is very complex and opinions are strongly polarized. Here I would just like to acknowledge the profound expressions of support the Guanajay Catholic community has shown me, Father Carreró, the Escolapias sisters and Bishop Serpa, worried and eager to help me, engaged in concrete actions. I also want to thank the rest of the religious congregations, who also watch and pray that with faith that everything will be resolved.

Praxis – Why do you want to return to your work when the salary isn’t enough to live on?

J.J.V. – It’s important not to confuse all the disrespect shown by our leaders and the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) authorities towards healthcare professionals, with the love we feel for the profession to which we devote our lives. If the government finds the resources to pay thousands of pesos to other sectors but cannot find it to reward a doctor who saves live, it is shameful for him. I live proud of my profession.

Praxis – Have you noticed rejection, or perhaps much more support on the part of the people for your demand? Does it deter you from or reaffirm your choice?

J.J.V. – Some people can expressed their opinion without know the details of the case but when they look into and discover the truth they are stunning. Generally, the people of Guanajay know that a great injustice has been done to me and generally they have shown me a tangible and sincere support. I feel myself a son of this own. All this support confirms me in my just purpose.

Praxis – A final message.

J.J.V. – I dream of a day when no Cuban accepts something or makes some concession if it is at the cost of a grain of dignity. It is about putting human dignity above everything.

Translator’s note: On March 31, in response to his hunger strike, Jeovany’s right to practice medicine was returned to him.

March 30 2012