The Efforts of the Cuban Doctors in Guatemala

In the midst of this rotten system, shot through and through with the corruption and impunity that riddles the most basic foundations of Guatemalan society, and that causes the deaths of thousands of victims, a medical brigade is gasping for breath as they carry the most vulnerable people on their shoulders – because they go where Guatemalan doctors will not go. And these Cuban doctors raise the work of saving lives to the highest level.

A pack of criminals who place their puppets in each current government has taken on the task of getting rid of these resources and, with this act, they will finish off the people, on their knees against the systemic violence, hunger and poverty, while big organized crime has a free rein to carry out any illegal action that fattens those who take off with the people’s money.

In the meantime, hunger reigns in the swamps and also in the dry areas, and along with it, the chronic illnesses that come with poverty, malnutrition, or no nutrition. Without medicines, without resources, without a medical diagnosis, without adequate treatment – in short – without doctors and without any health care facility nearby, these most vulnerable patients of an unhealthy system collapse begging for mercy before the mobs of criminals who cover their eyes and ears, but uncover their mouths to spit out the same old litanies they have used for five centuries.  In this land of cynical oppressors and oppressed people who still believe in the miracles of the plaster figures that the robed priests show them, rebellion is just another Caribbean song…

Very few doctors graduate in Guatemala with the humanistic ideal of helping their neighbor.  The majority do so thinking about the dough they can make with a private clinic or a position in a private hospital.  Due to this, although they may know how to cure, although they could prescribe, they will never see a patient who cannot pay the fees they charge.  They are as cynical as the bosses of ranch foremen. There are very few who dedicate themselves to a humanistic mission, and for these few it is like trying to plow the sea, in the context of the collapse of the health system in this land of eternal tyrannies.

And then the Cuban doctors came to put their shoulders to the wheel, in this land of neoliberal deadweight burdens, sunk in misery, rotten with corruption, of cynics, of twitter-warriors, of social-media-revolutionaries, of on-paper intellectuals, of artists in shoving each other aside and self-display, of smug conceited film-makers, of charlatan poets. To this country, that exports laborers cheap to any country that needs them. To this Guatemala of vulnerable underbelly, of forgetfulness. Of people with a thousand year tradition who refuse to die on their knees in the face of a classist, racist, and abject colonialism.

The Cuban doctors cross mountains, rivers, swamps, arid lands; they travel though however many kilometers it takes, night and day, in order to take the hands of their brothers and sisters of the Indigenous Peoples, of the slums, of the farmworkers, of the workers broken by hard labor. This is something that a Guatemalan doctor has never done, as they refuse to go into the interior of their country, denying their own heritage.

Some, who learned about human solidarity before they went to university, and for whom the study medicine just reinforced their basic underpinnings, also do this admirable work, but very few. We thank them. And we also thank the Cuban doctors who bring the dignity of their people to other lands through the human embrace of medical care. “Go ye therefore and teach all nations” applies very well to the brigades of Cuban doctors.  For they have demonstrated that in spite of the blockade, their answer will always be love.

Source: Cronica de una Inquilina, translation Resumen Latinoamericano – English