Over 300 Doctors Fired in Nicaragua

Doctors protesting their firing for political reasons. Photo: elnuevodiario.com.ni


For healing the wounded and supporting the civic protests.


By Lesber Quintero / Keysi Garcia 
(El Nuevo Diario)

HAVANA TIMES – In the last two weeks the dismissals of health personnel have continued, most notably in Managua’s Lenin Fonseca Hospital, denounced the Nicaraguan Medical Association (AMN) on Friday.

According to the organization, the total number of doctors fired from hospitals and public health centers is at least 300, stated Carlos Duarte, secretary of the Association’s Board of Directors. The dismissals are attributed to political reasons [for healing wounded protestors or participating in or supporting the anti-government demonstrations].

“The persecution has increased. The Lenin Fonseca Hospital is being left without personnel to attend patients, and they’re continuing to fire people,” Duarte lamented. He affirmed that one of the latest cases of unjustified dismissals in that hospital was that of Dr. Gustavo Morales, specialist in internal medicine.

The doctor was notified last week that his job contract had been terminated, supposedly for abandoning his post during working hours, Duarte continued, adding that there’s still great fear among the doctors’ associations to denounce the irregularities, due to the government repression.

UN Human Rights Commission report speaks of fired health personnel

The report presented this past week by the mission from the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights regarding the crisis in Nicaragua indicates that many doctors were “arbitrarily dismissed” for “carrying out their labors.”

“With access to public employment strictly controlled by the government, there’s a generalized fear of free expression in the public institutions,” states the document.

A group of doctors who were fired from the Oscar Danilo Rosales Teaching Hospital (Heodra) in Leon last July 28, have entered a legal appeal, but their request for review hasn’t been heeded by the authorities from the Ministry of Labor.

Dr. Javier Pastora, one of those dismissed over a month ago from the Teaching Hospital, indicated that at least 13 doctors entered a collective appeal in the offices of the Labor Ministry and the Labor Court.

“We entered our appeal correctly and in a timely manner and we’re waiting for their response, added Pastora, a surgeon specialized in gastroenterology who had worked for the Health Department for 32 years.

Ophthalmologist and a Urologist dismissed in Rivas

An eye specialist and a urologist who had been offering specialized attention for six years in the Social Security Medical Clinic in the city of Rivas were added to the list of doctors who’ve been fired in the different centers of medical assistance in the country. Ophthalmologist Dr. Carlos Castaneda and urologist Dr. Denis Garcia received their letters of dismissal on Thursday.

Castaneda and Garcia were the only specialists working at the Rivas Social Security Medical Clinic, attending to the insured and the retired under the Nicaraguan Social Security Institute. Both confirmed their dismissal but chose not to offer any declarations.

Reporters from the Nuevo Diario sought to speak with Miguel Ugarte, general manager of the Rivas Clinic, but those in his office said that he was in a meeting and couldn’t attend to their request.

Patients in the clinic, stated under guarantees of anonymity, that following the dismissal of Castaneda and Garcia they were being referred to the Rivas General Hospital.