How the Cuban Government Uses Health Workers

Yenisel Rodríguez Perez

medicos-cubanos-bolivia-580x388HAVANA TIMES – Health problems begin to spread across Cuba as the government begins to lose the firm hand of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs) to impose its epidemic-control methods and procedures on the population.

Historically, the Castro regime has relied on its authoritarian potential to hasten the administration and management of social processes. The urgency of the problems it has faced (outbreaks of dengue and cholera, for instance), and the impact these could have on the regime’s international prestige, are the factors that have established the limits of civil liberties on the island.

To fill the void left by the CDRs at the neighborhood level, the government turns to Public Health institutions with resolve in order to exercise control over the population. Accordingly, medical personnel have taken to the streets to grab the bull by the horns, coupling medical attention with authoritarian control over patients.

They pressure, threaten and go as far as accusing people of political misdeeds when they refuse to be hospitalized following the detection of symptoms that fuel the paranoia of doctors and bureaucrats.

The most shameful thing is that the will of citizens should be ignored, and that the situation a person may find themselves in at the time of the examination should be trivialized, taking the government’s disregard towards self-determination to unimaginable extremes.

This way, the regime substitutes the militant work previously carried out by the CDRs with the work of public health professionals, deploying outdated by still-effective authoritarian mechanisms.

In the prestige that the medical establishment still enjoys in Cuban society, the regime discovers an exchange capital that affords it a fifth column, one sustained by contractual agreements and not the kind of political indoctrination that is disappearing next to revolutionary folklore.

The generalized impoverishment and extreme depolitization of Cuba’s working class – of healthcare personnel, in this case – is, ultimately, what allows the regime to carry out this corporate turn and replace demagogues with technocrats.

Recently, it consolidated the maneuver by approving a salary raise for healthcare workers, making it next to impossible for the sector to ignore this fifth-columnist “call.”

On May 1st this year, thousands of public health workers took part in the rallies organized in celebration of Workers’ Day. The sea of white medical gowns made clear the central role that technocracy is to play in the establishment of the island’s “socialist” market capitalism.

Yenisel Rodriguez

Yenisel Rodriguez Perez: I have lived in Cuba my entire life, except for several months in 2013 when I was in Miami with my father. Despite the 90 miles that separate Havana and Miami, I find profound reasons in both for political and community activism. My encounter with socio-cultural anthropology eight years ago prepared me for a commitment of love for cultural diversity.

2 thoughts on “How the Cuban Government Uses Health Workers

  • Dengue is all over the Caribbean coast coast of South America,these stories are biased the way they are exaggarated ,mosquitoes has a population growth especially when it rains often, hence the reason for a battle against the insects

  • The Castro family regime has made the area of medical services a central pillar of its propaganda for many years. The Cuban population have been persuaded that “free” medical services are unique to Cuba, whereas in reality Cuba was a late-comer in having a national health service and where the USA is an exception in the free world. The regime has sent medical teams, here, there, and almost everwhere heralded with acclaim in Granma and on State if Cuba was saving mankind. The reality is that usually the regime has been charging for those services provided to other countries, paying a small proportionof the fees to the medical staff and pocketing the balance. Little has been spent on the hospitals and clinics within Cuba – readily confirmed by visits which demonstrate broken doors and windows and deplorable levels of general disrepair.
    The battle against the mosquito – to minimise Dengue fever has resulted in teams of uniformed (light tan) people entering all homes to place chemicals in any visible water (rear of old refrigerators, dishes under plant pots and less frequent visits by men wearing what appear to be blow-torches but in reality emit clouds of chemical fumes. To record all this are the forms attached to the back of the entrance door which each of the described visitors dutifully initials with the date. All of this is very visible and is calculated to demonstrate to the subject people that the regime is looking after them.

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