Prominent Holguin Physician "Escapes" Mission in Brazil / Juan Juan Almeida
Juan Juan Almeida, 25 July 2016 — Although it is not the first case of a
Cuban doctor suddenly abandoning his mission overseas, the desertion in
Brazil of Dr. Alejandro Guerrero Gonzalez — a leading specialist in
general medicine and a former director of Lucia Iñiguez Landin Surgical
and Clinical Hospital in Holguin province — is one of the most
significant setbacks for the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) in
"He has left. That is is a fact. But we cannot comment on it publicly,"
said an official at MINSAP'S Department of Cooperation, a branch of its
foreign relations bureau. The official, who did not give her name,
reported, "His daughter went to visit him for a month; we arranged her
trip. We now know that, when it was time for the girl to come home, she
threw a tantrum and refused to leave. One thing led to another and it
became an issue of family loyalty. But the doctor would never have
betrayed the mission on his own accord."
At this point, party officials, the government and the health ministry
are, quite stupidly, trying suppress the story. But accusing one of the
Provincial Health Administration's principal figures, along with his
wife and daughter, of "deserting a mission" has led to anger among
authorities and expressions of support from the Cuban medical community
and a segment of Holguin society.
Guerrero Gonzalez is known for his hard work and strong commitment to
improving the quality of public health services.
A professor and instructor, the Banes native is a member of Cuba's
medical elite who turned the eastern province's surgical clinic into his
battleground by encouraging the development of education and medical
specialties. His efforts have put the institution at the national
forefront in kidney transplants (thirty per year), corneal and bone
marrow transplants, stem cell therapies, surgical treatments for
Parkinson's disease and the use of prosthetic penile implants.
The physician was part of the team that set up the Cuban medical mission
in Guatemala. Along with his wife, also a specialist in comprehensive
general medicine, he worked in Brazil while his daughter remained behind
in Cuba, which is customary for all children of Cuba's volunteer workers.
"There's more take here about Dr. Alejandro's escape than about the
blackouts or preparations for the July 26 commemorations. The guy wanted
to save a little money and buy himself a refrigerator. We will miss him
a lot. People here were very fond of him. His daughter's name is Masiel.
I downloaded three seasons of Violetta, the Disney Channel children's
television series, for her," says a young male nurse at the Lucia
Iñiguez hospital in Holguin, who has a business on the side distributing
the Weekly Packet.
Source: Prominent Holguin Physician "Escapes" Mission in Brazil / Juan
Juan Almeida – Translating Cuba -