P. Edronkin

In Latin America, Soccer Is More important Than Human Rights (I).

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Today, August 9, 2000, I was listening to the radio here in Buenos Aires. The Senate of the National Congress was discussing a new law to subsidise soccer clubs from the smaller provinces of the country.

They seemed very busy and concerned about the issue.


A couple of years ago, the (then) President of Argentina, Dr. Carlos Saul Menem, was negotiating a truce between soccer clubs and players. A strike was going on and the public was left without matches for a couple of weeks.

So, the President used some of his precious time to solve the problem.


Some weeks ago, Dr. Rene Favaloro shot himself because he could not get at least a small part of the U$ 18 million that the Argentine State owed his foundation, indeed in serious financial trouble due to such practices, common among the state and union-owned health services. 

He asked for audiences with two presidents, yet, no one spent the precious presidential time to listen. They simply don't pay when they have to, and don't want to listen to your complains.

Dr. Favaloro left a note where he said that he was tired of having to act like if he depended on charity.

I know this for myself: my mother, a doctor working with the same organisations, is owed an average of 5 months of pay, and if you go to court, well, in eight years, average, you will get something, but in the meantime, you will pass to feed the rows of unemployment, 18% high, nation wide.

Dr. Favaloro was the father of the bypass surgery technique, used to reconstruct normal hearth functioning after a stroke. Probably a relative of yours is still alive because of this man, or probably a relative of yours will die because men such as this one are being ostracised and bankrupted by incompetents who amazingly run the destinies of more than one country. 

The damage is done, and it is huge, because Dr. Favaloro was not just a surgeon. He was also president of a university that he had created and of a foundation, and one of the pioneers in multiple organ transplants. He was indeed a candidate for the Nobel Price of Medicine, and saved who knows how many lives in the whole world thanks to his inventions.

One wonders, how many politicians were saved by him?

He rejected a position in the United States, where he was offered a salary of U$ 2 million per year, just to continue working on his projects.

True, check it for yourself if you wish.

But this one is not the only history of this kind: the late Dr. Federico Leloir, Nobel Prize for Chemistry could not even get enough money from the Argentine State to repair his lab chair, now at a museum and showing the improvised repairs made with some wire and tape.

True as well, check it too.

On the other side, at the time when Dr. Menem was negotiating with soccer players instead of ambassadors and ministers, so that Argentines could watch soccer matches, one of his acquaintances, a certain Mr. Bramer Markovic, was heading the PAMI, the Argentine equivalent to the American Medicare. U$ 25 billion per year were under his management, but it was soon discovered that his degree in engineering had been forged. 

As you may imagine, the organisation was left financially destroyed.

Dr. Menem said that his friends' lie was a "minor sin."

True, again.

Then, at the same time, there was a strike of school teachers, but Mr. Menem didn't make any more use of his precious time to solve the issue.

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