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Esteban Diaz: I am 26-years-old and from Buenos Aires, Argentina. I’m currently in my sixth year of studies at the Latin American Medical School in Havana. I like to travel, which has enabled me to get to know other cultures and see what life is like in other places. In my free time I play guitar and sometimes read books about politics.

Entering the Work World

March 30, 2010 | Print Print |

Esteban Diaz

In defense of the public hospital.

I began the process for the validation of the medical degree I received in Cuba, which will take a minimum of five months.  At the moment I’m looking for any kind of work.

I should be satisfied with the fact that validation is free here in Argentina, in contrast to other countries like Brazil where people have to take a validation exam that costs more than US $1,000.  I understand that the health care situation here in my country is critical.

The lack of medical supplies and health care personnel, the ridiculous wages and the conditions of the infrastructure in hospitals have moved the government to indicate its willingness to put an end to public health care and to promote its privatization.

In the midst of a budget deficit crisis, people’s rights are being posed against having to pay the foreign debt through a swipe at the Bicentennial Fund (State reserves) or through a request for a new foreign loan (Kirshnerism).  Rights are also being threatened by wage reductions, the looting of pensions and tax increases as a means of paying the debt.

Faced with this situation, workers in the municipality of Buenos Aires responded with a work stoppage in all the hospitals of the capital.  Doctors and residents are in a struggle to restructure the public health care system and obtain salary increases to $1,400 a month for entry level positions, no firings, no closing of hospitals, the payment of salaries on time and as agreed, pensions at 82 percent of the previous salary, creating work conditions for all those hired and the creation of new work positions.

Currently resident physicians are working full time for a usurious salary of $526 a month.  And to do your residency you have to first take a promotion exam that leaves many outside the possibility for upgrading and obviously better pay.  Those that don’t pass must do what is called “concurrencia” or showing up, which is nothing more than working for free in a hospital.

Given this panorama, going to work in my field here in my country will be anything but easy. To support the struggle of the workers is not an option – it’s a question of survival.


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