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Let's not love the oppressor

Theme of the week Public Health (Part II).

As we are

It is curious how in electoral times some themes emerge that the creators of public opinion have stored in their drawers of tailor and return in a kind of eternal ritornello. One of these is the right or not of citizens of other countries to be treated in our health system. First of all, I would like to share a small reflection. We don't mind a foreigner using the hospital. It bothers us that a poor foreigner uses the hospital. It's not the same thing. If a Canadian or an Australian falls off his bike and opens his mate, we're not screwed if he's going to Durand to sew himself up, that's what the hospital's for, isn't it? But if a Bolivian has an accident, he'll screw us up a little bit more. Not to mention if he's got cancer.

Now, that starting point leads me to two things that I would like to say. Firstly, if a person who lives in Oruro or Asunción or Lima comes to treat cancer 3000 km from home and family and work, it is because they can't. What would you do if you had cancer and you couldn't treat it here and find out that, say, in Brasilia you could save your lives? You wouldn't leave? I think I'd get the tickets out in 10 minutes.

The other thing I would like to say is that it is widely used, to defend the anti-welfare position, the argument of “there they charge us everything”. Well, it's fake. I have two examples from my personal experience. The first is in Cusco, the Peruvian city, one of the most wonderful in Latin America. For parsley I grabbed Salmonella (if you go to Peru, look what you eat). I was getting dehydrated. I've never felt so bad. I was treated in the hospital: two days of hospitalization, serum, food, bed. They cured me. Free. Second experience, this time in Barcelona. A friend got pregnant with her partner. She decided not to have it, she was young and the couple didn't want it (eventually we realized that she didn't love her much, either, but that's another topic). Result: she had an abortion. Free. In a public hospital. Nothing minor detail: my friend was illegal in Spain. He didn't even have his Argentine passport (it had been stolen). They didn't ask her to take care of her.

Health is a human right. Is the money coming out? Of course, money comes out. But isn't it the best worn out? Reading some statistics, in 2016 (these are the most recent I found), 47,147 people were hospitalized in Jujuy, of whom 0.3% were foreigners (132 people). From CABA I found even older statistics, from 2012. 72 foreigners were treated (slightly less than 0.1 per cent of the total attendance). In Buenos Aires Province, the total number of foreigners treated not only in hospitals but also in early childhood centers was 4 per cent. It's not so much if you look at it carefully, is it? Access to information is essential today. Let's not get carried away by the media agenda. I have a little picture in my studio, which is a quote from Malcolm X: “If you are not warned in the media, you will make you love the oppressor and hate the oppressed.” Let's never forget that. Especially because we are usually part of the oppressed.

( To read the first part of this note, click here.)

Publication Date: 13/02/2019

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