Intellectuals from around the World Tell Ortega to Reinstate Fired MDs

In a letter sent to Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo they also condemn “the dark legacy” against the freedom of expression of health professionals.

Por Yader Luna  (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – Ninety-six intellectuals from Latin America, the United States and Europe expressed their concern over the decision of the Government of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo to fire doctors and hospital personnel “just for expressing their critical opinion on the management of the covid-19 pandemic”, saying they should be immediately reinstated.   

“At least fifteen doctors, all of them frontline professionals, with extensive experience and years of service in their public hospitals, have been dismissed in recent weeks without explanation and without justification, after signing, with many other doctors, the request to apply the recommendations of the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization for the management of the pandemic, recommendations that your Government has ignored,” states the open letter.

Intellectuals, including the Nobel Prize for Literature, Mario Vargas Llosa, believe “that it is a crime to politicize medicine and science” because “scientific knowledge must prevail over politics.”

“While doctors around the world have been recognized for their heroic work and risks
assumed in their courageous treatment of the covid-19 patients, in Nicaragua, their Government has put their health personnel at risk by not providing adequate protective equipment and even rejecting donations of these,” they regret.

They ask for protection for health personnel

In the letter they point out that Nicaragua has the highest record for deaths of doctors and nurses in Central America. “Even with that high risk, health personnel continue to provide service despite inadequate conditions,” they highlight.

“Instead of acknowledgments, they receive unjustified dismissal letters, compelling us to raise our voices in solidarity with them and with the people of Nicaragua. As rulers and public servants that you are, we ask that you support, respect and protect your health personnel, and that you join the worldwide recognition of the commendable work of these brave and valuable professionals,” they note.

“Those of us who sign here condemn the firing of doctors and any other act that further weakens Nicaragua’s precarious health system. We categorically reject the actions of your Government that constitutes a dark legacy for the respect and freedom of expression of the medical profession.”

In the letter they demand “that the persecution stop and that the doctors be reinstated to their jobs” because “it is a crime politicizing medicine, even more in the midst of this terrible pandemic.”

“The Nicaraguan people should not continue to get sick and die from the spread of a virus that, by taking the appropriate measures, can be prevented. In the midst of this pandemic, saving the lives of your people should be above any other interest and consideration,” the letter concludes.

The letter is signed by:

  • Mario Vargas Llosa. Perú, Premio Nobel de Literatura
  • Salman Rushdie. Gran Bretaña/Estados Unidos, escritor
  • Julie Christie. Actriz, Gran Bretaña
  • Ángeles Mastretta. Escritora, México
  • John Ralston Saul. Presidente Emérito PEN Internacional, Canadá
  • Almudena Grandes. Escritora, España
  • Julia Álvarez. Escritora, Estados Unidos
  • Laura Restrepo. Escritora, Colombia
  • John Carlin. Escritor y periodista, Gran Bretaña
  • Regula Venske. Presidenta PEN, Alemania
  • Marcela Serrano. Escritora, Chile
  • Andrew Cockburn. Editor Harper´s Magazine, Estados Unidos
  • Martín Caparrós.Escritor y periodista, Argentina
  • Bianca Jagger. Activista derechos humanos, Gran Bretaña/ Nicaragua
  • Margó Glantz. Escritora, México
  • Holly Near. Cantante y compositora, Estados Unidos
  • Alfre Woodard. Actriz, Estados Unidos
  • Héctor Abad Faciolince. Escritor, Colombia
  • Leander Sukov. Vicepresidente PEN, Alemania
  • Mayra Montero. Escritora, Puerto Rico/Cuba
  • Duncan Campbell. Periodista, Gran Bretaña
  • Mayra Santos-Febres. Escritora, Puerto Rico
  • Joy Harjo. Poeta Laureada Nación Muskogee, Estados Unidos
  • Carlos Franz. Escritor, Chile
  • Lucy Lippard. Escritora, Estados Unidos
  • Juan Villoro. Escritor, México
  • Margaret Randall. Escritora, Estados Unidos
  • Alejandra Costamagna. Escritora, Chile
  • Mary Louise Pratt. Escritora, Estados Unidos
  • Alonso Cueto. Escritor, Perú
  • Joan Peters. Profesora Emérita de la Universidad de California, Estados Unidos
  • Edgardo Rodríguez Juliá. Escritor, Puerto Rico
  • Betina Aptheker. Profesora Universidad de Santa Cruz, Estados Unidos
  • Guadalupe Nettel. Escritora, México
  • Peter Passell. Profesor, Milken Institute, Estados Unidos
  • Marta Sanz. Escritora, España
  • Stefano Varese. Director del Centro de Investigaciones Indígenas de las Américas-Universidad de California, Davis, Estados Unidos
  • Alberto Salcedo Ramos. Escritor Colombia

To see the original letter addressed to Ortega and Murillo and the full list of 96 names who signed click here.