Several Cuban doctors use social media to protest conditions during coronavirus pandemic

MIAMI – Several overworked Cuban doctors and medical students used social media to protest the lack of resources available during the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Miguel Angel González Suárez, who works at a hospital in Cuba’s Cienfuegos province used Facebook to report his disappointment with a recent visit by government officials and the lack of solutions to be able to “ensure” the adequate care” of patients.

“We keep working without medicines. I don’t stop to quote them because the list would be extensive, just remember that today it was the cause of death in our center,” González Suárez wrote in Spanish, adding that “the health sector is tired, exhausted, and mostly disappointed.”

Cuban officials’ televised statements haven’t offered any solutions. Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel acknowledged on Monday that oxygen supplies for COVID patients are running low and asked doctors around the country to limit its use.

Although Díaz-Canel has admitted the demands of the pandemic far exceed the capacity of the health care system, Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz said on Aug. 10 that there were more complaints about doctors’ poor service than about shortages.

Students at the Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de Holguín are trying to come up with solutions. Ramon Villamil used Facebook to announce the inception of an apolitical group of volunteers who are visiting people who are ill at home.

“This group has already started its work in Holguín with active members who want to do a lot,” Villamil wrote in Spanish on Facebook. “Now we are getting stronger and we will grow little by little.”

Some of the doctors and students who spoke up reported they were being intimidated even though some of them clarified their complaints were not about politics, but about the resources needed to save lives during the pandemic.

In Miami-Dade County’s city of Hialeah, Orlando Gutiérrez Boronat, a spokesman for the Cuban Democratic Directorate, a nongovernmental organization that supports human rights in Cuba, said he has been following Cuban doctors’ complaints.

“Doctors are standing up to the regime,” Gutiérrez Boronat said. “They are not allowing the regime to turn them into scapegoats.”

Gutiérrez Boronat said he is also concerned about the Cuban government’s new push for censorship on social media with a new cyberterrorism law to target “offensive” posts that are damaging to Cuba’s “prestige.”

“I think the regime is trying to stick its thumb into the crack of the dam and the water is coming through, coming through, and that water, that pressure comes from the Cuban people,” Gutiérrez Boronat said.

To read this story in Spanish, click here.

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About the Authors:

Liane Morejon is an Emmy-winning reporter who joined the Local 10 News family in January 2010. Born and raised in Coral Gables, Liane has a unique perspective on covering news in her own backyard.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.