Dr. Hilda Molina (born Hilda Molina y Morejon in 1942 in Ciego de Avila, Cuba) is the former chief neurosurgeon of Cuba. Molina was also a deputy in the Cuban National Assembly but has been a critic of the Cuban government since the early 1990s. Her criticisms focus primarily on Cuba's state-governed healthcare system.
In 1987, Molina founded the neurosurgery center in Havana. By 1991, her center had become one of the most important scientific centers in Cuba. The same year, Molina claims she was informed by the then Minister of Health, Julio Teja Perez, that her center was henceforth to treat foreigners paying in U.S. dollars. Previously, the center had treated only Cuban patients. Dr. Molina subsequently resigned her position at the center and her seat at the National Assembly. Molina claims that she and her son were subjected to mob retaliation in what are termed "acts of repudiation". She had continuously been denied a visa to travel for personal as well as professional reasons until June, 2009 when permission was granted to visit family in Argentina.
Requests for travel
Dr. Molina has made many requests to visit family members residing in Argentina. In 2004, after Molina was again denied a visa by the Cuban government. This letter from Dr. Molina was forwarded to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and other international human rights groups. In the letter Molina stated: "The Cuban government impeded me from temporarily visiting Argentina for a reunion, after 11 years of forcible separation, with my son, who is a naturalized Argentine, and with his wife who is an Argentine citizen". She also listed numerous examples where she believed her rights had been violated by the Cuban authorities going on to state that "the arbitrary state organs that delay or deny, provoking the tearing apart of thousands of innocent families, that submerges them in paralyzing fear, so they are incapacitated to reclaim the respect for their rights most elemental."
In July 2006, a week before Fidel Castro's illness led to the Cuban transfer of presidential duties to brother Raúl Castro, the Cuban President was questioned by international leaders and journalists on the issue whilst attending a conference in Argentina. Argentine President Néstor Kirchner took the opportunity to press the Cuban leader to allow surgeon Hilda Molina, a one-time Castro ally, to leave Cuba to be with her children and grandchildren already in Argentina. At an improvised press conference, Miami's Channel 41 reporter Juan Manuel Cao asked Castro about Molina, a reportedly infuriated Castro asked the reporter, "Who is paying you?" and later accused him of being "a mercenary" for President Bush .
In June 2009, it was reported that Cuban Government reversed its position and that Molina will now be allowed to visit Argentina.
- Después de 15 años, Cuba dijo sí
- 10 Miami journalists take U.S. pay Miami Herald September 8, 2006
- Cuba allowing government critic to visit family in Argentina, CNN.com, June 12, 2009.
- The Effect of Travel Restrictions on Scientific Collaboration Between American and Cuban Scientists
- Cuba Dissident Wins Freedom by The Australian, June 15, 2009