How the Cuban Government Uses Health Workers
September 30, 2014
Yenisel Rodríguez Perez
HAVANA 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outdated by still-effective authoritarian mechanisms.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
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.
Source: How the Cuban Government Uses Health Workers – Havana Times.org