A couple weeks ago, a news item appeared in the press that may have been of interest to a considerable number of Cubans.
The headline in the October 9 edition of the Granma newspaper announced, “Chavez Receives New Advance Team of Cuban Doctors.”
The news refers to the tremendous impact that Cuban physicians will make on the “Barrio Adentro” project, an effort charged with providing health care to numerous Venezuelan communities while also training doctors within them.
I must acknowledge that the fact of sending Cuban doctors to another country can be considered a noble act of solidarity, and that most Cubans whom I’ve spoken with say the same thing.
However, I can’t overlook the other comments associated with the news report.
Many people are beginning to consider this act of solidarity excessive.
They complain that the quality of public health in Cuba has declined considerably, and that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find a doctor to adequately attend to their needs.
They grumble that the family medical clinics no longer function as before, citing that cases are now referred to offices served by a single doctor, where previously these were staffed by four.
The complaints have reached the point that some people protest the fact that Latin American medical students are treating them; their argument is that if Cuba is training foreign doctors, physicians here shouldn’t have to leave.
Perhaps the sharpest criticism is that some people believe they’ve been treated by doctors who do not know how to diagnose or treat the illness that forced the sufferer the hospital.
So if all these complaints are being made, why are there no answers or even explanations?
I don’t think it was a coincidence that the news report about Cuba sending physicians to Venezuela failed to mention something as basic as the number of doctors from the island that are currently there.
Unfortunately, many Cubans have found themselves complaining to deaf ears and receiving no answers from their representatives.
Many have decided to simply throw up their hands in resignation, feeling that this is how their society works and there’s no way to change it.
To move ahead and solve our problems, Cubans must break with all the pessimism that now bears down on our shoulders. Such an attitude takes us away from becoming a socialist society – constantly in search of solutions, criticism, confidence and optimism.