A Chavez Supporter Denounces "The Castros' Deception" / 14ymedio
Posted on July 30, 2015
14ymedio, Havana, 29 July 2015 — On June 30, 2015, the pro-Chávez
website Aporrea posted a disturbing testimonial about the Cuban
healthcare system, with a title that says it all: "Ninety Days in
Havana: You Have to be There to Know The Truth." The Venezuelan Nelson
Jesús Lanz Fuentes, a regular contributor to Aporrea, and a great admire
of Hugo Chávez, narrates the ordeal he went through first in his
country, and later in Havana, where he accompanied his son with the hope
that Cuban doctors could save his leg.
A traffic accident left the son of Lanz Fuentes, a resident of the
Venezuelan city of Guarenas, with severe injuries to one of his legs.
His tibia factured in three places and the doctors from Venezuela's
public health system inserted a plate in his leg to help regenerate the
bone. However, the operation caused an infection resulting in a terrible
diagnosis: infected pseudoartrosis and osteomyelitis of the right tibia,
and a dermoepidermal ulcer with bone exposure. Venezuelan doctors in
private practice recommended a very expensive treatment that did not
guarantee good results.
Lanz Fuentes, who in recent years has been very critical of Nicolás
Maduro's administration (which he accuses of false socialism) posted an
open letter to the President on Aporrea, complaining bitterly how
Venezuela dares call itself a socialist country when his son might lose
his leg "because of commercialized private healthcare and an ineffective
public health system."
In the same missive, he asked the Venezuelan government to give him
permission to exercise his right to travel with his son as stipulated in
the healthcare agreement between his country and Cuba because Lanz
Fuentes sincerely believed that "Cuba is the only country in the world
where the leg could be saved." He was convinced that "socialism only
really exists in Cuba, where every citizen receives free healthcare
regardless of medical condition."
Lanz Fuentes wish came true when on March 30, 2015 he flew to Havana,
after being "fast tracked" with the backing of a bureaucrat for the
Cuban–Venezuelan Healthcare Agreement.
Like all Venezuelans, Lanz Fuentes' son was sent to La Pradera
International Healthcare Center (built as tourist center at the
beginning of the century), which receives patients in accord with the
Cuban–Venezuelan agreement. From there, patients are dispersed to
different medical facilities according to their pathology. Upon being
diagnosed with acute osteomyelitis and infection of the tibia, Lanz
Fuentes's son was transferred to Havana's Frank País Orthopedic Hospital
where he was to undergo emergency surgery as per the Cuban doctors'
recommendation. The diagnosis was completely confirmed at the center,
but the urgency ended there.
Thirty days after being admitted, Lanz Fuentes' son had yet to be
operated on. His treatment was reduced to treating the infection with
antibiotics. The official rational was a lack of a bed in sterilized
room. After complaining for several days and promises broken, Lanz
Fuentes reports that a doctor finally confessed that "the truth is my
son will have to wait between three and five months. Foreigners who pay
in cash and in US dollars get preference."
Disillusioned, Lanz Fuentes admonished the doctor for his response, and
argued that the Venezuelan people already pay the Cuban government with
their oil. So since Cuba has incurred a debt of billions of dollars with
his country, Venezuelans should receive care first. Lanz Fuentes' angry
reaction resulted in his son being transferred to Havana's Fructuoso
Rodríguez Orthopedic Teaching Hospital in El Vedado.
"We spent 45 days locked up in a beautiful resort. We were allowed to
move around freely within the compound, but we could only leave it on
Saturdays, from 2:00 to 6:00 PM, and on Sundays from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
From Monday to Friday we were locked in there," protests Mr. Lanz as he
recalls the days he spent at La Pradera International Healthcare Center.
On top of being confined, Lanz Fuentes had to accept the fact that
patients who paid in cash and in U.S. dollars enjoyed priority over
Venezuelans, since their care was "free of charge."
But with all that, the worse was the "bill." Although he had been
assured in Venezuela that the agreement with Cuba guaranteed free
healthcare, Lanz Fuentes was charged for antibiotics, medications and
vitamins, as well as for all meals and hospitalizations. He was handed
two bills for US$7,800 each his son's expenses, and another one for
US$4,800 for his. Lanz Fuentes states: "What this means is that, for the
stays of all of us who turn to Cuba, the Cuban government is very well
compensated by its principal ally and pimp, our Venezuelan government."
It took just a few months in Cuba for Lanz Fuentes to fully understand
"the absolute truth about the current Cuban reality, all the lies that
the Maduro Government tells us about the Cuban government, and the
fantastic propaganda machine that the Castros use in order to keep
deceiving the rest of the world."
Translated by José Badué
Source: A Chavez Supporter Denounces "The Castros' Deception" / 14ymedio
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