Translated by Marvin Najarro
In the midst of a rotten system, plagued with corruption and impunity that corrodes the foundations of Guatemalan society and take with it the people’s lives by the thousand, there is, like a breath of fresh air, the medical brigade that shoulders the most vulnerable, because it is present where the national doctors are not. And they are the Cuban doctors, willing to exalt the mission of saving lives.
A bunch of criminals, who place their puppets in any sitting government, have taken on the task of plundering the state’s resources which has caused people to give in, overwhelmed by institutional violence, hunger and misery; meanwhile the big mafias green light every criminal act that enriches those who suck up the people’s money.
In the meantime, in the impoverished communities hunger and misery have set up tent, which together with a drought bring chronic diseases as a result; food is in short supply, and oftentimes non-existen. Without medicine; without resources; without a diagnosis and adequate treatment, damn, without doctors, and an out-patient clinic near at hand, the most vulnerable in this unhealthy system, collapse begging for mercy before de criminal mobs who shut their eyes and ears, but open their mouths to spit out the litanies that have prevailed for five centuries. In this land of cynical oppressors and of oppressed people, who still believe in miracles by gypsum figures as taught by the “sotanudos”, rebellion is just a Caribbean song.
In Guatemala, few medical doctors graduate with the human ideal of helping their fellow human beings, most do so thinking about the money they can make working for a private clinic or a private hospital. For this reason, even if they know the cure or can write a medical prescription, they will never give a consultation to those who cannot cover the cost of it. They are as cynical as the finca foreman’s boss. Very few endeavor themselves to the human mission, and not matter how hard they fight it is like plowing the sands in the face of the sanitary collapse in the country of the eternal tyrannies.
And then, the Cuban doctors arrive to put their shoulders to the wheel – in this neoliberal country mired in misery and corruption, of cynical people, twitter babblers, social media revolutionaries, and paper intellectuals; of vain artist and filmmakers and phony poets. They arrive to this land that exports cheap labor force to whatever country that needs it; to this land of violated womb and amnesia; of ancient peoples who refuse to die on their knees before the colonialism of the racist, classist, and lackey mestizo.
The Cuban doctors cross mountains, rivers, muddy an arid landscapes; it does not matter the distance they have to walk along, whether by day or night, to help the brothers of the native peoples, the slum dwellers, the peasants, the hard working laborers, as never before had been done by a Guatemalan mestizo doctor, who refused to go deep into his homeland’s bowels out of contempt for his own ancient blood.
Some of them, who learned about human solidarity before college and later medicine helped them to reinforce those principles, perform a laudable work, but they are very few. To all of them our gratitude. And also to the Cuban doctors who carry their people’s dignity to other lands through the human embrace of medicine. “Go and teach everyone suits perfectly well the Cuban medical brigades, for they have showed the world that despite the blockade, the answer will always be love.
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Ilka Oliva Corado @ilkaolivacorado