From Dr. Jose E de la Gandara of the Cuban American Psychiatric Society, West Palm Beach.
"I like to congratulate Dr. Galarza and the Puerto Rico Psychiatric Society in their position against the Death Penalty.
Hispanic Culture considers the Death Penalty Anacronistic and certainly against our most dear moral, ethical and religious values.
The Cuban American Psychiatric Association has also pronounced itself against the Death Penalty. We fill that the best punishment to criminal actions is to deprive the culprit of their citizen rights and freedom for an amount of time conmensurate with the gravity of the time commited and for them to have to live with the stigma the rest of their lives. We are also against any form of Physical or Psychological torture, no matter how noble the objectives of such interrogation practices may be. We fill that there are many other interrogation teckniques that could be more effective than torture, without necessarily treating detainees in such a punitive and cruel manner.
It is dificult to understand why the APA so prone to take controversial and even divisive positions among the membership, is so unwilling to take a clear position regarding torture and the death penalty. It is incumbent on our profession to guide public officials and the public regarding these issues so intrinsically related to our practice of medicine.
I fill that perhaps the approach that we need to take is to discuss this issue and promote our individual DB's to take a clear position individually. From there we could bring the issue to the Areas and the Assembly. It would be very dificult for the Board of Trustees to turn down an assembly position paper that is backed by all the DB's individually". (end of quote)
Dr. Abraham Halpern comments:
"Dear Dr. De La Gandara,
The psychiatric community owes a great debt of gratitude to the Puerto Rico Psychiatric Society and the Cuban American Psychiatric Association for their important and most timely pronouncements. Their leadership on behalf of human rights comes when it is especially needed and may well motivate other DBs and the APA Board of Trustees to follow their shining example.
January 11, 2006.
You can read the position of the Puerto Rico Psychiatric Society by pointing your browser to http://www.puertoricopsychiatricsociety.org