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Colombian Vice President Francia Márquez praises Cuba's communist health system

The comments of Vice President Francia Márquez were harshly criticized and described as a "shame", since according to a study the Colombian health system is among the six best on the continent

February 13, 2023 3:35pm

Updated: February 14, 2023 9:22am

Colombian Vice President Francia Márquez praised Cuba's impoverished health system this weekend, and said she wants the same system for Colombia. Her comments came after extolling the work of Cuban doctors, whom she described as "the best in the world."

"The preventive health that you (Cubans) have maintained as a central axis is what we want to do today in Colombia," Márquez said on Cuban regime television, where she parroted stereotypes from the official Communist Party propaganda.

These statements by the vice president sharpened the controversy surrounding the new state controlled health reform proposal announced on Monday by the leftist government of Gustavo Petro.

"We are proposing a health reform where it is again managed by the State. Of course, this is not going to be easy because there is a very strong dispute," added the politician who attacked the Health Promotion Companies (EPS) and warned that she was going to "take away their business".

Despite what Francia Márquez affirms, in recent years the problems of care and deterioration in Cuban hospitals have become evident, including Diez de Octubre, in Havana, where last January 10 newborn babies died due to lack of hygiene and other deficiencies. In addition, after the arrival on the island, in March 2020, of the COVID-19 pandemic, which put the Public Health system in tension, citizens have denounced countless cases of alleged medical negligence on social networks, as well as shortages. of medicines and supplies.

A 2022 report published by the Cuban Observatory for Human Rights (OCDH) indicates that 56% of the Cuban population has to make some kind of gift or payment to be treated in the Public Health system.

According to the results of a survey carried out by the aforementioned NGO, eight out of ten Cubans do not get the medicines they need in state pharmacies, and 57% obtained medicines thanks to the help of churches, 8% through relatives abroad and 17% by other means.

Despite these data and denunciations, Márquez did not spare praise for the communist regime in Havana:

"I think that the experience that you have had in terms of health systems and the fact that Cuba trains the best doctors in the world is part of the experience and the path we need in Colombia," she said.

The vice president of Colombia arrived in Cuba last Thursday as a special guest of the regime at the Havana Book Fair, where she has made several controversial statements. Cuban activists demanded respect and empathy for the victims of the violence of the Cuban regime.

The vice president's comments about the health system on the island were described as a "shame" by Colombian lawyer and political analyst Ani Abello, among others.

Colombian President Gustavo Petro will present the new health reform on Monday, which is expected to transform the current health model to making health a universal right in the country, and not a "business."

However, a study carried out by the Colombian Association of Hospitals and Clinics (ACHC) places the current Colombian health system iamong the six best on the continent, above countries such as the United States, Argentina, Mexico and Brazil.

The Health Promotion Companies are private entities in charge of affiliation, registration and care of affiliates to the health system. They also collect money from contributions and their function is to "organize and guarantee the provision of the compulsory health plan," and it is provided to people who pay social security.

However, they also have a state-subsidized service for the unemployed.

Petro has said on several occasions that it will eliminate them as it considers them insolvent. However, after a controversy he changed his mind and stated that he will not seek "under any circumstances" to eliminate the EPS.