Cuban Hospitals Begin Telling Patients There Is No Such Thing as Free Healthcare

By: Karina Martín - Mar 20, 2017, 3:18 pm
Cuban hospitals have begun to issue "symbolic" bills to their patients (
Cuban hospitals have begun to issue “symbolic” bills to their patients (Cubanet).


A report from Cuban television noted that Cuban medical institutions have begun to provide their patients with symbolic bills with the actual cost of services rendered.

Miosotis Moreno, director of Economics and Planning at the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) clarified that the health services will not start actually charging their patients, but the account is “symbolic”.

“It is not the intention that the services will be charged … It is only so that the people feel the commitment with the services that we are offering today, how we do it, what the cost is to the Ministry of Public Health and the country,” the official said.

According to the National Television News, the bill seeks to help the Cuban people know “that the services in our health system are free [for users], but cost [the system].”

“Most Cubans were born with the Revolution and we never worry about how much a surgical operation costs, or a clinical analysis, or an ultrasound, not to mention many of the other medical services that the population receives,” said the program’s director in the report.

“This way it is convenient, it is educational, it is a better way to give recognition to what we have done … It allows institutions also to really see what we are investing, it forces us to be more aware of the costs, which for a long time has been something that has not been given the right importance,” said a professional interviewed in the report.

The report was aired on Saturday, March 18, during the Noticiero del Mediodía.

Cuba, under the tenure of Raul Castro, has pledged to continue with its socialist economic policies, but has begun to allow limited free market reforms.

Cuba is living in an age of uncertainty, in the wake of Fidel Castro’s recent death, and Donald Trump‘s election as president of the United States. Trump has vowed to take a hard line on the island’s Communist regime.

Karina Martín Karina Martín

Karina Martín is a Venezuelan reporter with the PanAm Post based in Valencia. She holds a bachelor's degree in Modern Languages from the Arturo Michelena University.

Why Salvadorian Teens Join Brutal Gangs and How Courts Make Things Worse

By: Adriana Peralta - @AdriPeraltaM - Mar 20, 2017, 3:08 pm

EspañolThere were 30 murders in El Salvador on March 15 in El Salvador. Just on March 15. Afterward, Justice and Security Minister Mauricio Ramírez Landaverde came out saying the country will have to face some rough days and hard times if it is ever going to win against the country's widespread problem with violence. In 2015, El Salvador had a rate of 103 murders per 100,000 inhabitants and 81.7 in 2016. There are an estimated 60,000 gang members in the country. The Mara Salvatrucha gang has 30,000 members in El Salvador and another 50,000 around the world, of which between 8,000 t0 10,000 live in the United States. On March 16th, a study titled "The New Face of Street Gangs: The Gang Phenomenon in El Salvador," was published by the Kimberly Green Center for Latin America and the Caribbean, in coordination with the Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy at the International University of Florida. The study is based on a survey of gang members and former gang members and seeks to explain why they join a mara (gang). For the study, 1,196 imprisoned gang members were interviewed, both retired and active, in six prisons. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); });   More than 62 percent of men who have joined gangs or maras in El Salvador did so for "leisure" or "friendship." They wanted to be accepted and when they see how bad it can get, 19.6 percent said they felt they could not get out. Twenty-one percent of women, however, entered gangs "due to family problems" and 12.3 percent said they joined because they were forced. How to rehabilitate a gang member? James Garbarino is an expert on children who commit crimes. He gave an interview to the Salvadorian media outlet La Prensa Gráfica, during which he spoke about violence in El Salvador. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); });   One statement that is often made about children who have committed murder is that they are "monstrous" human beings. However, in a study done by Gabarino, he tried to give a humane explanation for those actions. "I have worked with many judges and I notice that whenever juries have this conception of 'absolute evil' it is more complicated for them to dictate more accurate sentences," he said. According to the expert, the appropriate action to take with these children is to give them rehabilitation, not condemn them to continue in a cycle of violence. "There are only a small percentage of individuals that cannot be rehabilitated, and in psychology the classic term for these people is psychopaths." In El Salvador, few people believe in the rehabilitation of gang members, the conception of them being that they are more or less psychopaths. However, others want to give them a second chance. Gabarino has studied the psychological evolution of adolescents who were sentenced to a life in prison for having committed a felony in their adolescence. And in the last 20 years, he has become convinced that rehabilitation is possible. He showed that it requires learning and spiritual experiences, reading and meditation — something that changes your conception of the world. The expert asked teenage murderers how their lives would have gone had they not been locked up. Most agree that they would have remained in crime and would not have survived. At age 25, the brain is reportedly more mature and can better analyze situations than when committing crimes at a younger age. When a person is imprisoned, they have the option to change their lives. In El Salvador, there is no such opportunity, because the prison system is broken. "When these people go to prison, they have to make a decision: to become savage barbarians or become monks. In some prisons in the United States, inmates are given facilities or spaces for the latter. If we look at a spectrum of prisons from Scandinavia, which are focused on human rights and rehabilitation, and we go to the other extreme, to the United States (we can see that) that the issue of rehabilitation is not just a psychological issue, it is also a political issue. " According to the expert, the only way to achieve real rehabilitation is to change the mentality we use to construct prison systems. "It is possible to change the social environment inside prisons," he said. "It does not happen by force, but rather through reflections, meditations, through a respectful approach." Source: La Prensa Gráfica

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