Nicaraguan neurosurgeon leaves the country after aggression against him

Nicaraguan neurosurgeon leaves the country after aggression against him

Neurosurgeon Jairo Gutiérrez, one of the doctors who has silently treated the victims of the repression since 2018 —challenging the Daniel Ortega regime with his work— went into exile to protect himself after a brutal attack on February 5 in Managua, which was added to years of threats, expressed on social networks or written warnings on the walls of one of their farms in Carazo.

According to Gutiérrez —who did not want to give more details about his departure from Nicaragua—, on February 5 he stopped at a pharmacy to do some shopping, when he was going back to his house in the capital, after a day of work; then three unknown individuals attacked him causing a wound to his right eyebrow, which required five stitches.

Gutiérrez said that one of the assailants stood in front of the front door of his vehicle, saying absolutely nothing to him. The doctor thought it was an assault, he tried to turn the vehicle around to avoid it, but was attacked from behind. The first to attack was a dark-haired guy, followed by the other two. The aggressors stopped until a boy, a caponera driver, confronted them and said: “What happened there?”

“Another caponero passed by and took (the aggressors) away,” Gutiérrez explained from exile, adding that he went to the police to report his case, but received no response.

Since the political crisis that emerged in 2018, the specialist has been the target of threats on social networks, even forcing him to close his Facebook account.

In addition, on one of his farms and in a house in Diriamba, in the department of Carazo, fans of the government party wrote insults calling him a “coup leader”, “tranquero”, “PLOMO”, “we are going to kill you, we know where you live ”.

“I don’t follow any political person. Always the one who has sought me out and needs help, I have supported him regardless of who he is. It is not my job to tell you that I don’t see you, because you are such a thing. I have always been very neutral in that sense, ”explained Gutiérrez, who has been a doctor for 19 years, eight of which he has practiced as a specialist.

One of the most notorious cases of deteriorated political prisoners in their health condition, and who were treated by the specialist, was Justo Rodríguez, who was handed over to his family in Ometepe in terrible conditions, after eight months of confinement at the beginning of 2021. He had a wound that he did not know what he had been hit with. For Gutiérrez, the deplorable conditions that the man has not been able to overcome were incredible.

For the neurosurgeon, the Nicaraguan health system has been biased and broken the principle that the well-being and life of individuals must be guaranteed, regardless of race, color, sex or political orientation. This is evidenced by the fact that victims of repression or political prisoners “cannot be treated in specific health units and must go to doctors like us, who have supported them so that they can be helped by chronic pain and its effects.”

Persecution of independent doctors

Gutiérrez stressed that independent doctors are completely banned from the Ministry of Health (Minsa). The Nicaraguan Medical Unit (UMN), an independent association of which Gutiérrez is a member, estimates that 459 health workers have been fired since 2018, for serving opponents, to which must be added another 57 employees who criticized the Minsa for its work of concealment of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to an investigation by CONFIDENTIALpublished on March 6, 14,815 Nicaraguans died as a result of the pandemic between March 2020 and December 2021, despite the fact that the authorities officially recognize only 218 deaths, according to an analysis carried out based on the health data map of the Minsa.

“It is something sad, because it is practically about perverting the medical profession and subordinating itself to political power, forcing them to reproduce an ideology,” commented another doctor on condition of anonymity to avoid state reprisals against him.

Lawyer Yonarqui Martínez, one of the best-known defenders of political prisoners in Nicaragua, said on her Twitter account that Dr. Gutiérrez’s work does not constitute a crime and that the incident was an attempt on his life.

The neurosurgeon acknowledged that he has “a sea of ​​confusion” about what he will do in exile, and maintained that initially what he did was instinctively safeguard his life, although “obviously it is difficult for him to return to Nicaragua.”

“If I come back who knows what will happen to me,” he said.

“I hope that one day we will wake up from this nightmare. The problem is that we are under a system that has fostered fear among all of us. I’m long and I’m afraid to speak, not only for myself, but for what can happen there. That should not be so. We are all free to express what we want, especially when there is injustice. Systems like this one that exist in our country should not exist,” said Gutiérrez, who maintains that Nicaraguans survive a “failed state.”

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