The exclusion of Dr. Rodrigo Álvarez Cambras from the annals of the Cuban Society of Orthopedics and Traumatology generated criticism among doctors, both inside and outside the island, who transferred their complaints on social networks.
According to portal reports 14ymedioThe eminent surgeon, who directed the “Frank País” International Hospital from 1969 until his retirement, went from being a figure close to Castro’s management to being totally eliminated from the history of the specialty.
“We tried to erase the name of Professor Rodrigo Álvarez Cambras in an article published on the site of the Cuban Society of Orthopedics and Traumatology of the Infomed portal,” denounced Dr. Ana Pompa, a former collaborator of Álvarez Cambras.
The journalist Julita Osendi also joined the complaint. In a note posted on Facebook, the retired athlete’s commentator claimed that the Company, led for four decades by Álvarez Cambras, had ignored all the effort and dedication of the doctor. Finally, he stressed that the surgeon retired at 82 years old “like an old band that gives up and no longer gives juice.”
Considered by many to be the father of orthopedics and trauma on the island, Álvarez Cambras was the creator of the Ralca external fixators, which he designed in the early 1970s and is named after his initials. He was also a teacher and was in charge of the recovery of 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 of 14ymedio Sources close to the Frank País Hospital indicated that the surgeon’s “fall from grace” began in 2018 due to the alleged “discovery of a vast 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 during Fidel Castro’s life 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 presuming that if he picked up the phone and called Fidel, he could solve or ask almost anything. Thus, until Raúl Castro governs ”, they stressed.
Eight presidents are also on his list of important patients. Among them were Ecuador Rafael Correa and Saddam Hussein, who later appointed him to the 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 Iraqi dictator. 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 – of the Patricio Lumumba battalion commanded by the Argentine Ernesto “Che” Guevara.