Holguin: Cholera and Dengue Fever Patients Kept Out of Sight of Pope /
Juan Juan Almeida
Posted on October 18, 2015
Juan Juan Almeida, 31 August 2015 — For the Cuban Government, the level
of job insecurity, the index of diseases (above all those provoked by
the deterioration in the control of hygiene, epidemiology and health) is
politically sensitive information that must be hidden or, at the very
For that reason, and because of the epidemiological situation that
exists today on the island, all the institutions and organisms of the
central administration of the State, the Party and the Government worked
tirelessly to ensure that the visit of the Supreme Pontiff would be a
success, and this included camouflaging that which couldn’t be exposed.
His Holiness Pope Francis helped to forge the historic rapprochement
between the United States and Cuba. His pastoral visit to Havana, and
even more his later travels around the island, awakened special interest
in all sectors of the country.
It was, undoubtedly, a delicate moment that was calculated with the
precision of a Swiss watch, so that no one, beginning with the head of
the sacred Catholic Church, nor any members of the retinue accompanying
him, including the foreign press and parishioners, would receive more
information than what was previously determined.
The priority was to hide what was ugly and shameful for the Cuban
Government’s propaganda. The alarm went off when the Government-Church
Commission designed the itinerary for the papal visit.
Immediately after they knew of His Holiness’ plans, on Monday, September
21, to visit the province of Holguín, there was an urgent “flash,” and
as required by the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba for disasters,
the Council of Defense had a meeting, and in coordination with all the
competent authorities in every corner of Holguín, ordered that an
exhaustive analysis be done of the health situation in the province.
And later, armed with the evidence of colossal chaos, even more with the
need to hide their own responsibility, they elaborated a plan of action
with specific guidelines, not to solve the problem, but to cover up that
which must not be shown.
Poverty can’t be seen when it’s generalized, but the overwhelming number
of those sick with cholera and dengue in Holguín’s Vladimir Ilich Lenin
General Hospital, jumped out like dynamite in the middle of hostile terrain.
Controlling that immense truth necessitated something more than
whitewashing the facades of the streets through which, presumably, the
Holy Father’s caravan would pass. So, not to take any chances, it was
also ordered that the patients be hidden by moving them to less
accessible and, of course, less visible centers.
It’s been approximately a month since the dengue patients have been
returned, without the required antiseptic conditions, to the poorly
adapted rooms in the province’s nursing school, and to the classrooms of
the ancient school for social workers.
For their part, those infected with cholera found a “new hospital bed”
in one of the rooms in the old renal building, in equally bad condition,
located next to the surgical clinic.
It’s a Hippocratic cataclysm and an extravagance of governmental
hypocrisy; nonetheless, it’s good to know that, miraculously, in none of
the cases has the relocation of patients been implicated in the
elimination or loss of their records; and, according to information
coming from overseas, the provincial health department’s data base from
last Wednesday reports a discreet decrease in the population
hospitalized for cholera and dengue in Holguín.
Luck or disinformation? I don’t know, because I don’t believe the Cuban
Government even when it’s telling the truth.
Translated by Regina Anavy
Source: Holguin: Cholera and Dengue Fever Patients Kept Out of Sight of
Pope / Juan Juan Almeida | Translating Cuba –