Fire Balaguer


Under the banner Fire Balaguer, hundreds of internauts are demanding the resignation of the Minister of Public Health of the Cuban regime, whom they consider responsible for the dismal performance of the island’s medical system, shaken in January by the death of more than 30 patients in the Havana Psychiatric Hospital, whose images are circulating on the Internet.

The campaign, launched on Twitter some days ago by Yoani Sanchez, author of the blog Generación Y, has supporters inside and outside Cuba, where there had been no debate about the death of the patients in the large mental hospital in the capital, victims of cold, hunger. and abuse.

José Ramón Balaguer is a militant Castroist. He has held positions in the military and the bureaucratic apparatus of the Communist Party, which he represented in one of the eastern provinces. As Ambassador to the former Soviet Union he witnessed the end of socialism in Europe. Since 2005 he has headed the Ministry of Health, which has been severely affected by lack of resources and by the marketing of medical services to other nations, which requires the neglect of our own clinics and hospitals.

Firing Balaguer is a logical demand, but inconceivable for the proud island leaders, who sacrifice their cronies only when they have stopped being useful or reliable for the Castro brothers, who have governed Cuba like a family farm for a half century. J. R. Balaguer, like Ramiro Valdés and José R. Machado Ventura, is now more visible in the media, which highlights his presence in provincial hospitals and medical meetings, where he speaks of demand and quality.

The deterioration of the health sector, a mainstay of “the successes of the revolution,” has been analyzed by the bloggers and independent journalists, whose chronicles, posts, comments, and pictures about clinics and hospitals testify to the problems ignored by the official press, which clings to ideological goals and slogans.

Although since January the Ministry of Health has adopted some measures to improve care for patients in psychiatric hospitals, the reality is pathetic. The Fire Balaguer campaign reflects the outrage of citizen journalism to the apathy of the authorities. Bloggers and twitterers call for public debate and an end to impunity.

The circulation of the pictures taken by the experts from the Interior Ministry demonstrates the ineptitude of those who keep state secrets. As it is not ven remotely possible to stir the waters of effectiveness under a non-functioning regime, the Cuban cybernauts appeal to the public conscience and try to shake off the social lethargy. The images bear witness to the disaster of the Cuban health system, headed by Mr. Balaguer.

Translated by: Tomás A.

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