14ymedio, Havana, August 29, 2021 — This Sunday morning, the psychiatrist and founder of the World Network of Suicidiologists, Sergio Pérez, died of covid-19. His death was reported by Dr. Alexander Jesús Figueredo Izaguirre, who was expelled from the polyclinic of Bayamo for being “counterrevolutionary.”
“The medical sciences in Cuba and in the world have just lost one of the greatest psychiatrists who ever lived,” he said, and asked that the news be released. “It’s the only thing I ask, as another doctor is buried in the dark because of his ideology.”
The doctor’s death adds to the official statistics of the Ministry of Health, which has registered 5,144 deaths since the start of the pandemic, and 640,438 positive cases from the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. This Sunday 77 deaths and 6,277 new infections were reported.
Pérez used social networks as a channel to express his critical stance about the Cuban government. “The worst enemies of any government are its corrupt, inept, indolent, and demagogic officials,” he said in a post on August 17.
He was always blunt in his comments, such as when he rebutted Miguel Díaz-Canel’s words about putting “heart to Cuba,” which the physician considered a “poetic and manipulative style.”
“Cuba must be given freedom, equality, and fraternity. Cuba must be given food, medicine, decent housing, potable water, good roads, transportation; refrigerators and fans at reasonable prices, because in a hot country they are necessities, not luxuries. Cuba must be given hope and well-being.”
Last May, Pérez resigned from the Cuban Society of Psychiatry in solidarity with Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, who was detained for 29 days at the Calixto García hospital without being able to communicate with his friends, and was only seen by means of heavily-edited videos disseminated by State Security. The doctor asked the authorities to explain what was happening with the artist.
Even before being admitted to intensive care at the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Hospital, in Bayamo, Granma province, Pérez lamented that “in Cuba the most there is, is “there isn’t,” alluding to the shortage and chronic lack of resources.
In 2016, before the visit of then U.S. President Barack Obama to the Island, the psychiatrist sent a forceful message to the Cuban regime, saying: “A country is going badly when a prostitute has more freedom than a physician.”
After being denied permission to leave the country on several occasions to participate in international events in his specialty, he predicted that his situation would not change, and he would continue “professionally isolated, controlled, and scrutinized by Cuba’s Ministry of Health.”
Translated by Tomás A.
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