pharmacists, on the whole, deserve a great deal of credit. they're down with biochemistry, which should in itself be more than enough for the public's faithful admiration. but they also work hard, long hours on their feet, dealing with many doctors' chicken scratch prescriptions and a host of cranky, impatient, impertinent people. they can often be like saints, granting medical relief that's modern day miraculous, with little or no recognition. one of them is an uncle of mine. a few others are friends of my folks, and to one i owe my little toe's recovered health and happiness.
pharmacists here are hard workers, too, though cut a significant break in the prescription reading scene. patricio and i have cured everything from chronic indigestion to pesky constipation without ever stepping through a doctor's office door. truth be told, i'm not even sure what medications do require a physician's signature, since we haven't yet needed one at all. it's a good thing we're not into vicodin.
and there's a certain pharmacist here who also believes that he deserves a great deal of credit; he's been campaigning for it for close to a year. his name is victor gonzáles torres, but he may be best known as the mustachioed doctor simi, el doctor descuento, the country's most famous discount entrepreneur.
he created and owns a nation-wide pharmacy chain, with storefronts boasting the familiar name of farmacias similares. catering to the masses--those with little money--his pharmacies' shelves are stocked with generic, comparable, lower-priced drugs.
he doesn't occupy a place behind the counter. he's now the stuff of billboards and advertisements on t.v. but lately he hasn't been advertising his business, not in an explicit form, at least.
he's campaigning for the nation's presidency.
he says to his interviewers that "para servir a dios y al pueblo" (to serve god and the people) is not his campaign slogan, but rather a way of life. and an alternative, he believes, to the moral compass of politicians today.
he couldn't garner backing from any political party, so his status in the running is "independent, non-registered citizen candidate." his strategy has been to encourage potential voters to write his name in their ballot's blank space. the election process here allows a token trump card, of sorts. if a voter isn't satisfied with any of the registered candidates, she can write even her own name in the space provided for just such a purpose.
gonzáles torres almost certainly knows that a win doesn't await him on the night of july second. but he declares himself a valid alternative, as did his brother some years ago, running as the green party's candidate for president. even on the improbable chance that his blank space ballot votes outnumber those of a registered candidate's, constitutional law still wouldn't allow him to assume the presidency. for that, he'd need to be registered under the auspices of a party. patricio refers to him with a twinkle in his eye as the doctor inverosímil, playing with his nickname, calling him the "unlikely" or "implausible" doctor, which is not far at all from the mark.
some have referenced ross perot in gonzáles torres discussions. but for all their similarities and differences, it's difficult not to wonder why dr. simi is running. he offered to pay an independent party ten million dollars to promote him as its candidate, and in the wake of rejection, he's been spending it on himself. a person has a right to do with their money whatever they choose is best, but ten million dollars of one's funds, spent on a campaign that won't even secure him a spot in the debates, can easily make a person curious.
is it powerful publicity for his pharmacy chain? is it a stab at attaining a party's backing in the 2012 campaign? is it a strategy to destabilize the upcoming elections? is it an honest show of democratic belief and well-meaning altruistic goodwill? is it something he's doing, simply because he can? i don't claim to know an answer at all.
but he's managed to obtain the seemingly dedicated support of a number of registered voters. he's a pharmacist who's enjoying an enormous amount of credit, whether or not he's really down with the biochemistry thing.