I recall with nostalgia our once beautiful, neat and well-stocked pharmacies and as well as the finely crafted and magnificent pharmaceuticals, a worthy support for any physician, able to guide us responsibly toward any medication or treatment. I’m talking about the popular drug stores and pharmacists who were the pride of our country for over fifty years.

Today, on my planet, the so-called pharmacies and pharmacists bear no resemblance to those of the past. The devolutionary process has taken them almost to the Middle Ages. I am convinced that any witch doctor of any tribe of old was more attentive and had their concoctions better organized. As an example of what I am saying here, take the pharmacy located at 26th Avenue and 39th Street in Nuevo Vedado. Just looking, it is already clear the state of deterioration and abandonment of its planting areas, and its main access doors, without windows or with the windows broken. We are received with a beautiful mural decorated with old newspaper clippings and some slogans, also old, and a badly written sign which reads: the line starts here. It is good to note that there is always a line, despite the five employees, since only one is regularly serving the public. The others are engaged as follows: one to review papers at an old desk, another to order the few medicines on the half-empty and dilapidated shelves, another on the phone and taking payments (if they’re not too busy talking with a friend or family, which is very important), the rest remaining in the back room or warehouse.

After getting bored waiting, when my turn finally comes, it is simply to hear that the medication is not available, or the prescription is expired, or it is missing a stamp from the clinic, and so on. This is not the heritage of this pharmacy, but that is repeated in most of them. The exceptions are the few in hard currency (CUC).

Having looked at the case and done some fact-finding, I come to the conclusion that this situation has nothing to do with the much-vaunted embargo, but rather with the apathy that has become the chronic condition of the country. Once again, the slogan Health for Everyone is a farce.

Gentlemen, excuse me, but right now I have just been advised that my friend Juan Juan, who has been on a hunger strike for more than a week, has gone to Plaza with a sign asking to leave the country. Please join him in his just request. Thank you.

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