RICO’s DIGEST – Something terribly wrong is going on at the Ministerio de Salud (Ministry of Health), the same government institution that guided us from the first days of the covid-19 pandemic, helped us understand what was going on, and kept us updated with daily figures.
On social networks, many blasted then Health Minister, Daniel Salas, for his tough-handed approach to the national situation with the coronavirus, which saw the country’s airports closed for months, we could drive only certain says and not others and nothing at night, having to wear a mask, washing our hands constantly and keeping a distance from each other.
This new government, however, has a different approach.
Since taking office on May 8, Health Minister Joselyn Chacón Madrigal has pretty much kept us in the dark on the current covid situation. And possibly other public health matters, though I admit I can’t say one thing for sure.
Before you say, what covid? yes, covid is still with us. In the past several weeks more than five people close to me and a few other of only acquaintances have come down with covid-19.
The last numbers we have from the Ministry of Health on the covid situation are from May 30, 2022. The day before the “hack” of government institutions.
Two months later, the official Ministerio de Salud website still displays those numbers. Nothing since.
Concerning, but hey, this government has different priorities, like the President taking the time to make a video for publication on social networks to tell everyone he will be in Guanacaste on July 25.
News flash, Mr. President, we all know that the President keeping the tradition will be on Guanacaste on July 25.
But here is the worrisome part, on Monday, La Nacion published that Health officials must request permission to give statements to the press, publishing the letter issued to the staff by Minister Joselyn Chacón, on July 22, who assures is to “order processes” and “improve attention to consultations”.
What this means is that Health officials must request permission from the Communications office to give statements to the press.
This instruction is given to the directors of the central and regional levels, of the governing areas, as well as to the headquarters and coordination of all the units and work areas of the Ministry of Health.
In the letter, Health officials are expected to redirect journalists to the email of the press office.
“The objective of the instruction obeys, in the first instance, to seek to improve the attention to consultations and centralize the communication processes, respecting the order established from previous administrations. We have never sought to silence anyone, we want to order the processes”, assured Chacón, in the bulletin of this afternoon, August 1st.
What are they, the Ministry of Health, hiding? What are they afraid of an employee of the Ministry of Health may blab to journalists? Does this include posting information on social networks, questions solicited or not?
Is this an example of the “Gobiero Abierto” (open government) or “Transparenica institucional” (institutional transparency), Casa Presidencial promotes on its website?