Things That Matter

A Cuban Doctor Was Stuck In Mexico Awaiting For Asylum So He Became The Border Camp’s Only Doctor

Most stories coming from the US-Mexico border involve tragedy. Whether it be the separation of families by the Trump Administration, the drowning of migrants trying to cross the Rio Grande, or the tens of thousands of asylum seekers missing appointments because of cruel Border Patrol agents, we’re all too often inundated with tragedy.

One man, a migrant, himself is working hard along the border to help those just like him – while he himself is facing an uncertain future.

Twenty-eight-year-old Dairon Elisondo Rojas has been treating patients who live in the same teeming migrant camp that he calls home.

Dr Elisondo is a native of Cuba and he has become the only full-time doctor in a sprawling tent city that has grown at the base of a bridge that connects the Mexican city of Matamoros to the United States. More than 2,500 migrants call the camp home as they wait for their asylum cases to wind their way through immigration court in Brownsville, Texas.

In a story by the New York Times, he noted that he often treats children with diarrhea, colds and asthma, among other ailments. Some he examined, treated and sent on their way with cough or cold medicine. For those who required special care, like a boy with a broken leg, Dr Elisondo arranged a transfer to the local Mexican hospital.

He works every day and holds office hours from 10am to 4pm but is often on-call as the tent city’s only medical official. For his services, he earns about $30 USD per day. He told the New York Times:

“This is perfect, perfect,” Dr Elisondo said in Spanish about the arrangement. “It’s what I know. It’s what I do best.”

So perfect he has not taken a day off since starting work in late October.

Just like the hundreds of migrants he treats, Dr. Elisondo himself is a resident at the tent city as he awaits his asylum case in the United States.

Like the migrants under his care, the doctor is stranded in Mexico by the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, under which asylum-seekers who show up at the border are only allowed to enter the United States for court appearances. He could be stuck in Matamoros for several more months, waiting for an answer on his immigration case.

Dr Elisondo, who has a speciality in critical care, has experience working in challenging environments thanks to Cuba’s medical-training program, which dispatches newly minted doctors on missions to impoverished allied countries.

After medical school, Dr Elisondo was posted for nearly three years to a government clinic in Venezuela. With that country’s economy reeling, he witnessed close-up the suffering wrought by a shortage of medicine and food. He was recalled home after he became a vocal critic of the government of Nicolás Maduro.

“The government brought me back to Cuba, and that had consequences,” he said.

In his home country, he said, he was barred from practicing medicine and harassed by police. Feeling persecuted and endangered, he and his girlfriend scrounged up enough money to pay for travel to the United States to request asylum. They journeyed more than a month by plane, boat and bus until they reached the southwestern border in mid-August.

For decades, Cuban refugees had special access to the US asylum system but that all changed under the Obama Administration.

While Cubans for decades were allowed under a special policy to remain in the United States if they were able to make it there by land or sea, that welcome ended in the final days of the Obama administration. Cubans, who once may have travelled to Florida, now are subject to the same stringent immigration policies applied to other asylum-seekers on the southwestern border.

Being stuck in Mexico and needing income, Dr Elisondo sought work.

He had already found work in a plant that manufactures cosmetics cases but one day, as he passed the ever-growing migrant camp near the international bridge, he spotted a big banner tied to a fence inscribed with the words “Medical” and “Médico.” Several migrants were talking to a person with a stethoscope dangling from her neck. It was a pop-up clinic opened in October by Global Response Management, an international nonprofit organization whose volunteer doctors, nurses and medics have been deployed to places such as Iraq, Yemen and Syria.

On a typical day, Dr Elisondo and a rotating roster of US volunteer health workers see about 50 patients.

Credit: Iliana Panich-Linsman

In addition to the camp’s residents, they serve another 1,000 migrants living elsewhere in Matamoros.

Exposure to the elements, overcrowding and lack of sanitation — there are few showers and the portable latrines are foul — have created conditions for illness to spread in the sprawling camp. Yet many migrants fear venturing far outside the camp, even to seek medical care, because so many people have been victims of crime.

Dr Elisondo has stabilised people who had epileptic seizures, appendicitis and heart attacks. But patients with upper-respiratory-tract infections, pneumonia and skin conditions such as scabies represent the largest share of his caseload.

Someone Claims That They Discovered A Long-Lost Frida Kahlo Painting But Experts Don’t Agree

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Someone Claims That They Discovered A Long-Lost Frida Kahlo Painting But Experts Don’t Agree

Frida Kahlo - La Mesa Herida - The wounded Table - Der verwundete Tisch / YouTube

Frida Kahlo is one of the most iconic artists in global history. The Mexican artist was known for blazing her own path both in art and in society. One of her most famous paintings “The Wounded Table” has been missing for 65 years but one art dealer claims he found it.

A Spanish art dealer claims to have found a long-lost Frida Kahlo painting.

Kahlo painted “The Wounded Table” in 1940 and over the years it disappeared. It is unknown if it was returned to Moscow, was lost, or destroyed. All that is known is that Kahlo’s largest painting to that date is gone.

Cristian López Márquez, a little known art dealer in Spain, claims to have found the long-lost and highly sought after painting. According to La Voz de Galicia, the art dealers claims to have acquired the painting from some who settled in Spain from Mexico.

The painting is one of Kahlo’s most famous works of art.

The decades-long mystery about where the painting ended up does add to the allure of the claim. However, people are not convinced that the painting is a fake that is being peddled by someone who is after money by selling an inauthentic painting. To make matters more skeptical, the art dealer has very few details but is adamant about its authenticity.

“Time will give us the truth,” Márquez told AP. “Whoever proves genuine interest and the ability to pay the figure of 40 million euros, can spend as much time as wanted with their experts analyzing the work.”

Despite Márquez’s claims, art historians are very skeptical that the painting is true.

Márquez claims to have the painting safe in a warehouse in London. He has put the painting on sale asking for $45 million. No one seems to be biting but Márquez continues to say the painting is an original.

READ: Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul Is Celebrating Her 113th Birthday With A Week Full Of Digital Events

Mexico Closes Border With Arizona To Keep Americans Out Following COVID-19 Outbreak

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Mexico Closes Border With Arizona To Keep Americans Out Following COVID-19 Outbreak

John Moore / Getty Images

Mexico is taking measures to protect its citizens from the rapidly spreading COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. Parts of the Mexico-U.S. border was closed in Arizona by Mexican authorities in response to the Trump administration’s response to COVID-19.

It started when the state of Sonora toughened border restrictions as Arizona’s COVID-19 number skyrocketed.

Arizona is facing one of the toughest COVID-19 surges in the country. Numbers are spiking across the U.S. following the rapid, and in some states sudden, reopenings. Florida, Texas, California, and Arizona are all reporting numbers that have health experts concerned about the outlook of the U.S.’s ability to control the virus.

“We are all going to be on alert at this time to prevent them from coming, whether they are Mexicans living in the U.S., Americans or those who want to come to spend the weekend and put a greater burden on us regarding COVID,” Sonora Gov. Claudia Pavlovich told the Arizona Daily Star.

Some Mexican citizens took it upon themselves to block Americans from entering their country.

Mexican residents along the Arizona border created makeshift blockades to keep Americans from flooding popular beach destinations. Mexican citizens used their cars and other objects to block Americans as the state governments backed their actions.

“We invite US tourists not to visit Mexico,” Sonoyta’s mayor, José Ramos Arzate, said in a statement. “We agreed on this to safeguard the health of our community in the face of an accelerated rate of Covid-19 contagion in the neighboring state of Arizona.”

Sonoyta is a U.S.-Mexico border town with roads that lead to Puerto Peñasco, a beach town on the Sea of Cortés. Mexicans are fighting to protect their own health as the U.S. continues to let the COVID-19 crisis get worse.

The United States has been setting daily records as COVID-19 infections continue to spread out of control. Health experts are warning that the U.S. is still in the first wave of the virus since the first wave never ended. The lack of containment has led to countries banning American tourists because the virus is still not under control.

There are things we can do to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Health experts suggest wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and being diligent about hygiene to slow the spread of the virus. Stay safe and stay healthy.

READ: Gay Man Dubbed Karen For Saying He Wants Everyone To Catch COVID In IG Video