The exclusion of Dr. Rodrigo Álvarez Cambras from the annals of the Cuban Society of Orthopedics and Traumatology unleashed a wave of criticism among doctors, both inside and outside the Island, who transferred their complaints to social networks.
According to reports from the portal 14ymedioThe prominent surgeon, who directed the “Frank País” International Hospital from 1969 until his retirement, went from being a figure close to the Castro leadership to being totally eliminated from the history of the specialty.
“It has been tried to erase the name of Professor Rodrigo Álvarez Cambras in an article published on the website of the Cuban Society of Orthopedics and Traumatology of the Infomed portal,” denounced Dr. Ana Pompa, Álvarez Cambras’ former co-worker.
The journalist Julita Osendi also joined the complaint. In a note published on Facebook, the retired sportsman commentator affirmed that the Society, led for four decades by Álvarez Cambras, ignored all the effort and dedication given by the doctor. Finally, he stressed that the surgeon was retired at 82 years of age “like an old fret that gave up and no longer gives juice.”
Considered by many as the father of Orthopedics and Traumatology on the Island, Álvarez Cambras was the creator of Ralca external fixators, which he designed in the early 70s and named after his initials. He was also a teacher and was in charge of recovering dozens of athletes. But, above all, it was one of the names most used by government propaganda when it came to talking about Cuban medicine.
How did Rodrigo Álvarez fall from grace?
In exclusive statements to 14ymedio Sources close to the Frank País hospital indicated that the surgeon’s “fall from grace” began in 2018 due to the alleged “uncovering of an extensive network of corruption.” His crimes range from performing undeclared surgeries to direct payment for services rendered to politicians and celebrities.
“It was something that everyone knew, but while Fidel Castro was alive no one could touch Álvarez Cambras who, although he was a respected doctor and professor, exercised tyrannical power over the hospital. He was known for his excesses, for placing his friends in key positions and for boasting that if he picked up the phone and called Fidel he could solve or ask for almost anything. Thus, until Raúl Castro governed ”, they pointed out.
Eight presidents also appear on his list of important patients. Among them, the Ecuadorian Rafael Correa and Saddam Hussein, who later made him head of the Cuban-Arab Friendship Association. In an interview with the RT channel, the surgeon revealed that, in addition to his orthopedic work, he “transferred messages” between Fidel and the dictator of Iraq. Rodrigo Álvarez also participated in several internationalist missions, which earned him the Medal of Honor and Friendship, awarded by Vladimir Putin.
During the war in the Congo he was part – as a guerrilla doctor – of the Patricio Lumumba battalion commanded by the Argentine Ernesto “Che” Guevara.