On Saturday I was talking to some of my Mexican buddies. One of them asked us if we had heard the news about Javier Duarte, the Mexican governor who went missing in October of 2016. Duarte was the governor of the state of Veracruz, while he was in power he increased the public debt, organized crime got more powerful and there were 19 crimes committed against journalists among many other crimes.
The news my friends and I were talking about concerned Duarte’s capture in Guatemala, six months after he went missing. I was extremely surprised at this because I am used to Mexican politicians getting away with what they do without any consequences.
Duarte’s government left many scars in the economy, but the deeper scars were left on the people. During his terms as a governor, patients at the Cancer Center in Xalapa, Veracruz, were treated with “water” and drugs not suitable for cancer treatment. Among other crimes committed in the healthcare system were the inadequate testing for HIV and many expired drugs that equaled millions of wasted pesos were found. But this is what hurts me the most, during Duarte’s power, children with cancer were treated with distilled water instead of chemotherapies.
I cannot imagine what the families of these children felt when they found out about the medicine, but I understand their anger and impotence. In 2012 my dad was wrongly diagnosed with an eating disorder. My dad had been experiencing a lot of headaches, seizures and mood swings. When he went to the hospitals in Mexico City, no doctor bothered to further investigate his case and instantly assumed it was an eating/dehydration problem. He was on a diet and we thought he was going to be fine.
One day he had a seizure. After this seizure, he couldn’t talk or move, his eyes couldn’t focus and he was not able to control his body. Usually after the seizures he would recover, he would be tired and disorientated, but that was it. When he was taken to the hospital the doctors tied him down to a bed and just assumed he had a mental disorder. No further testing was made.
After almost a month my dad was finally diagnosed with stage four brain cancer. My mom fought for my dad to be taken to a specialized hospital for cancer but they couldn’t take him there because there were not enough beds.
After a lot of paperwork and my mom’s insistence, my dad was transported to a specialized hospital. Once in the hospital he had a surgery but was given no further treatment. His tumor grew twice its size after this surgery. A second surgery had to be performed but this time he finally received chemotherapy and radiation. In the end, there was not much else the doctors could do, his cancer had already spread all over his brain, it was too late.
I understand Mexico is a developing country. We might not have the same infrastructure as other countries in the world but we are not a poor country. We have money. Our economy is growing and healthcare should be a priority for our government. I cannot believe that politicians like Duarte are willing to enrich themselves and forget about their main job that is to protect their citizens.
I cannot understand how someone can be so miserable, selfish, and pathetic. My eyes are filled with tears because I am mad at my government, and I am mourning with my country. The negligence of our broken political system has taken many lives, including my dad’s.
Javier Duarte is now about to go through trial, but whatever consequence he has will never be enough to pay back all the damage he has done.