The oncologist has worked at the Bertha Calderon Hospital for over 28 years. She believes she was the victim of a plot on the part of those who criticize her opposition political posture.
By Cindy Regidor (Confidencial)
HAVANA TIMES – In order to find a pretext to dismiss Dr. Luz Indiana Talavera, they had to set up a trap for her. Talavera was dismissed on April 22, after a career that has spanned more than 28 years of service as an oncologist at Managua’s Bertha Calderon Hospital.
She now joins a list of health specialists fired by the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo amid the Covid-19 pandemic, although her exit, she says, was for motives that have accumulated over the last two years. Her “crime”, Dr. Talavera affirms, has been to “think differently” than the regime.
Beginning in 2018, authorities from the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health (Minsa) began to carry out acts of reprisal against the specialist for having protested against the government during the civic rebellion and for questioning the repression unleashed by the state to squash the massive citizen protests that began in April of that year.
In addition, Dr. Talavera criticized the actions of the public institutions during the repression, among them denying medical attention to opposition protesters, as was confirmed by the report of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts, a branch of the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights.
Dr. Luz Indiana Talavera was replaced by Dr. Wagner Espinoza, an oncologist loyal to the government.
Motive given for the dismissal “was an invention”
“Espinoza ordered that the (cancer) patients from Leon and Chinandega should now be seen in Leon. One of the patients refused to be transferred, and Espinoza then said that he hadn’t issued that order,” said Talavera, who was then accused of having denied medical attention to the patient.
“They catalogued this as an extremely serious act of misconduct. It was all invented. The patient was seen and was operated on,” Talavera detailed. She also accused Dr. Ana Lidia Ortiz Zavala, the hospital’s assistant director, of being involved in the plot.
At 6:30 pm on the evening of April 22, Denis Centeno, the lawyer from the Health Ministry, came to the oncologist’s home to deliver the letter of dismissal to her, and in that way keep her from going to the hospital on her final work day.
However, Centeno was unable to deliver the letter, so Talavera arrived at the hospital at 7:15 the next morning to participate in a session of case evaluations, which was then interrupted by the notification of her dismissal. Although they wanted to keep her from reentering the meeting, Talavera reported that she gave a brief farewell speech to her colleagues, ending with the phrase: “Long live a free Nicaragua!”
“I’m going to continue fighting. It was an unjust dismissal. I’m going to go to court, to the Supreme Court, to the human rights organizations, the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, to demonstrate that it was an unjust dismissal and that I wasn’t involved in any misconduct,” Talavera stated.
During her 28 years of service, Dr. Luz Indiana Talavera worked as Chief of Oncology Services for 18 years, and earned multiple recognitions nationally and internationally for this work.
Doctors from the Center for Health Studies and Research also fired
On April 23, it was also revealed that authorities from the Nicaraguan National Autonomous University (UNAN) in Managua fired Dr. Miguel Angel Orozco as director of the University’s Center for Health Research and Studies (CIES), along with three other members of their management team. The Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh) classified this as an arbitrary act of dismissal against those who have educated epidemiologists and public health specialists for three decades.
“Not only are they running rampant over the individual’s right to work and to exercise their profession, but they’re also depriving the Nicaraguan people of scientific criteria at a time when, today more than ever, the people need professionals who can contribute to the fight against Covid-19,” read the document issued by Cenidh with regard to the dismissals.
Orozco had recently offered declarations to the BBC in which he recognized the effectiveness of forced quarantine and border closures in confronting the Covid-19 pandemic, measures that the Nicaraguan government has refused to take.
He also criticized the house-to-house visits that the health brigade members were asked to make all over the country amid the pandemic. This initiative was celebrated by Vice President Rosario Murillo, who informed that three rounds of visits had been carried out for a total of 3.6 million visits.