The Revolutionary Doctor / Reinaldo Escobar

On a day like yesterday, thirty years ago, the Carlos J. Finlay Medical Sciences Detachment was formed. In front of 3,800 young medical students, gathered in the Karl Marx Theater, Fidel Castro warned then that the University was for the revolutionaries, a condition more demanding for those who were responsible for people’s health. In commemoration yesterday, the Minister of Health, Dr. Roberto Morales Ojeda received a certificate addressed to the Cuban president.

At the same time that the ceremony was taking place in the auditorium of the Public Health Ministry, about 35 miles away in Guanajay, Dr. Jeovany Jimenez was finishing his first week on a hunger strike. The young doctor is protesting to demand that his right to practice his profession be restored; it he was barred from medicine in September 2006 after having sent a letter complaining about the insignificance of the salary increase for health care workers. Now, after sending a total of 20 letters over five years with no reply from the Ministry of Public Health, Jeovany is resorting to a hunger strike.

The arrogance of the former Minister, Jose Ramon Balaguer, made that demand for a wage to be seen as a reprehensible act. Revolutionaries do not demand more money for their work. The indifference of the current Minister is surely based on the belief that Revolutionaries must have a blind confidence in their leaders, even when they are apparently wrong, and do not go around with appeals to demand justice. According to these deep ideological principles, Jeovany is not a good revolutionary and obviously can not be a doctor.

16 March 2012