Monday, October 28, 2013

Cuban Activist Losses His Optometrist Job

Cuban Activist Losses His Optometrist Job
October 25, 2013
Isbel Diaz Torres

HAVANA TIMES — As I predicted, my partner Jimmy Roque, member of the
Observatorio Critico Network, ultimately lost his job because of his
political ideas. The management of the 27 de Noviembre Polyclinic, where
he worked, came up with a strategy to get rid of him.

The first measure was the arbitrary decision that he was not an
"optimal" employee, with which they managed to dismiss him from his
position as optometrist (a position that has been filled by another
polyclinic employee, with the pretext that this employee must "receive
training in a number of technical areas").

Jimmy's education, technical knowledge and professional skills are
superior to those of his replacement, something the specialists and
patients at the polyclinic can attest to.

The decision to remove Jimmy from his post makes no explicit mention of
any infraction whatsoever. Nor does it present the evidence reviewed to
establish and confirm the alleged incidents that led to the decision.

All of Jimmy's employee assessments before his dismissal had been
satisfactory and neither the polyclinic's management nor his immediate
superior had ever questioned his professional integrity or "suitability"
for the job.

Some days later, the management took a "disciplinary measure" and
penalized Jimmy with a public reprimand for two alleged absences and
four late arrivals. I say "alleged" because Jimmy had only been absent
from work once, and with the authorization of his superiors.

On theaverage, Jimmy was late an average of 1.7 minutes on the late
arrivals in question, something which in no way affected the
ophthalmology services at the polyclinic, as there is only one piece of
equipment in use and there are other technicians available to see the
patients. What's more, no complaints were ever received in this connection.

The management's ill intentions are clear in the text of the decision,
which claims, in an exaggerated manner, that Jimmy maintained an
"undisciplined conduct" and a "poor attitude towards work", claims that
cannot be supported by any rational argument and which are not
substantiated with any evidence.

Finally, on September 26, the polyclinic's management referred Jimmy to
"the review of the Marianao Municipal Health Department," that is to
say, fired him, achieving their initial objective.

Weeks earlier a direct intervention at Jimmy's workplace by the
Observatorio Critico Network frustrated attempts at dismissing him
explicitly for political reasons. That is the reason the clinic's Party
Secretary Berardo Duque, the director of the polyclinic Xiomara Iglesias
and the Vice-Director Zunilda Crespo, came up with a strategy that
managed to get this inconvenient employee fired in less than a month.

To date, Jimmy has been unable to appeal this decision before any Local
Labor Court, in violation of the principle which establishes that these
types of cases must be reviewed immediately. The reason is that not one
such court was in operation for the health sector in Marianao – showing
how vulnerable healthcare employees are there.

The officials from the Municipal Labor Office are now trying to have
Jimmy present his appeal to the at his former workplace, chaired by none
other than Mr. Berardo Duque, the main instigator and champion of the
unjust measures taken against him.

Jimmy will be submitting a complaint to the Council of State, the
Ministries of Labor and Public Health, the newspaper Trabajadores, the
National Workers' Union, the Provincial Health Department, the Attorney
General's Office, the Cuban Communist Party (PCC), the Municipal
Government and the Municipal Labor Office.

These institutions may not be able to right this wrong (as is commonly
the case), but, in the future, when they are asked to account for their
complicity with the unjust measure, they will not be able to claim
ignorance of the facts.

The use of administrative measures to respond to critical political
positions has been one of the common strategies used by Cuba's
authoritarian bureaucracy. These illegitimate practices, which are in
violation of Cuba's Labor Code and Constitution, are yet another
demonstration of their impoverished political fiber.

Jimmy suffered all of this two years ago, when he was fired from the
hospital where he worked for the same reasons. Despite this, he has not
renounced his critical posture or to his libertarian socialist ideas.
The political police are going to have to come up with a different strategy.

Source: Cuban Activist Losses His Optometrist Job - Havana -

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