Greece: Access to Food and Health Care Is More and More Difficult

StopCartel TV broadcasts live from Athens, Greece weeknights @ 6 pm Athens time. The following post is a loose transcript of the 20 September 2012 broadcast.

By greydogg and snake arbusto, 99GetSmart

– Greek Finance Minister Yiannis Stounaras made the mistake of walking in Syntagma Square on Thursday. To give readers an idea of the highly charged atmosphere in Greece, citizens who just happened to be on the scene wasted no time taking advantage of the chance encounter to verbally express their feelings regarding Stounaras’s traitorous role as a Troika puppet. Stounaras scurried like a frightened rat, cowering between two bodyguards as he was heckled on his entire walk through the square on his way from the Parliament building to the Ministry of Finance.

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– Mass-transit workers gathered in Syntagma Square for a demonstration and a 24-hour strike to protest an increase in fares and additional cuts to their wages. As a symbolic gesture, they brought a gallows with an effigy of a uniformed Metro worker lying lifeless below. Their message to the government-of-the-regime is: If you pass new austerity measures you will be hanging us all.

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– Hospitals in central Athens remain open for emergencies, but outside hospitals, doctors, nurses, and support staff are protesting. Hospital employees are owed many millions of euros and have not been paid in over six months because Greek hospitals are bankrupt. Some hospitals have already been forced to close, leaving patients in those areas at high risk.

Doctors say wage cuts and a two-month delay of payment are intentional. Hospital employees are owed back wages from July exceeding 3.5 million. In addition, new austerity measures demanded by the Troika call for further wage cuts and a moratorium on hiring badly-needed staff.

While the number of patients has increased from 25% to 35%, understaffed hospitals won’t be hiring any time soon. The government-of-the-regime is planning more dismissals and calling for a decrease in the number of hospital beds.

From the patients’ side, their insurance leaves their hospital bills unpaid. 1.7€ billion is owed to Greek hospitals, leaving hospitals without money to purchase medicines, supplies, etc. As bad as the situation is, it’s about to get worse. Doctors say that suppliers have given notice that they will no longer provide services due to lack of payment.

Patients who are able must pay for their own medicine and a fee to enter the hospital. Unemployed and uninsured patients must also pay cash for hospital care or they are required to sign an agreement that they will pay, otherwise they are not accepted for treatment.

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– The European Section of the International Confederation of teachers (ETUCE) adopted a resolution in support of the struggle of the Greeks against the educational austerity policies demanded by the government-of-the-regime and the Troika (EU-ECB-IMF).

The resolution was sent to all relevant government agencies and parliaments of the European Union. The ETUCE calls for all organizations of teachers in Europe to support Greece and expresses its own solidarity with the Greek teachers and schools.

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– The social situation in Greece is rapidly deteriorating. Homelessness, hunger and despair are everywhere. Pockets are empty and people are starving.

In the Kolonos region, many people are forced to look for food in the waste of the markets. These people are the first victims of this crisis and they subsist on rotten fruits and vegetables discarded by vendors at the end of the day. They are surviving with great difficulty.

A young man foraging through the waste told a reporter that he used to have a good job as a construction worker but has been unemployed for three years. He said that he has been foraging for food at the market for the last two months, waiting until it closes to rifle through the garbage, looking for something to eat. He added, “This is happening in a ‘democratic’ country in 2012. Please don’t show my picture. I am sorry for myself for my country and I’m sorry I am a Greek.”

People are so desperate and hungry that they don’t care if the food is rotten. They eat anything they can find. What sort of people? Everybody … Greeks, immigrants … everybody.

A young girl goes to the market each day to collect fruit because she has a big family with lots of brothers and sisters.

A vendor threw out a box of rotten lemons and not even a minute later, a mother with a small child stopped to collect them.

And elderly woman tries to retain her dignity and denies she is looking through the garbage for food.

People who have lost their jobs and businesses go to the market after it closes to find food. This is happening every single day, Monday through Saturday.

Vendors say that customers often ask for credit or a loan to shop for food. People don’t have enough to eat. Those who don’t manage to find discarded rotten food from the open market go through the public trash in order to find something to eat.

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StopCartel TV broadcasts live from Athens, Greece on weeknights at 6pm Athens time @ http://www.livestream.com/stopcarteltvgr

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