|McALLEN, May 26 - The president of IBC Bank McAllen has made a blistering attack on the Obama Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs over the long wait times for U.S. veterans needing healthcare services.
David Guerra absolved criticism of mid-ranking employees at the VA, who, he said, are doing the best they can. However, at the top, he said, heads must roll.
“I am dismayed, discouraged and upset at what is happening at the VA. There is absolutely no excuse for it. We have had issues with that agency for many, many, years and yet elected officials, Cabinet members, senior deputy secretaries, have failed to fulfil their obligations as responsible adults, as responsible appointees to fix this horrible problem,” Guerra said.
Guerra made his comments at the launch of Operation Interdependence 2014, the charity IBC administers in the Valley to collect care packages for troops serving overseas. He pointed out that he works in the political arena, traveling to Austin frequently to push for funding for the border region.
Guerra said that with the region being so patriotic, almost every Valley family has a family member that has served in the military. He said his brother fought during the Vietnam War era and his uncles served in World War II.
“I do not know what is going to come out of this but I do hope that in three to four years the VA system will not only be well funded but will be run by people, by individuals at the top level who… I think the individuals at the mid-level management are doing everything they can,” Guerra said.
“But it is absolutely wrong what is happening in all these different hospitals. Heads have to roll, senior officials have to take personal responsibility, starting with our President, starting with our VA secretary, starting with the Department of Defense, and they have to do the right thing.”
Guerra said the current government is so “ineffective” in so many areas. He contrasted the leadership of the country today with the generations that went before. “When I look at the generation of my father and my grandfather, of the self-sacrifice, to serve and to help and give, not for political gain but to do the right thing.” Guerra asked for an additional prayer: “That our government appointees and our elected officials start becoming serious in the management of this country. I will do my part to do everything we can to help our veterans locally.”
The Hill reported Sunday that the scandal involving a potential cover up of medical mistreatment of military veterans by the Department of Veterans Affairs dominated discussion on the Sunday morning political talk shows.
“Lawmakers from both parties appeared on every channel to discuss the still-emerging VA scandal, calling for responses ranging from a Department of Justice investigation to the firing of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki,” the newspaper stated.
Other speakers at the Operation Interdependence kickoff said they agreed with Guerra’s comments but spoke instead about what the care packages mean to service men and women stationed abroad. McAllen Mayor Jim Darling served in the Vietnam War and spoke about how important care packages from home were. Ret. Col. Frank Plummer served in World War II and the Korean War. He spoke about the importance of care packages. And, Sgt. David Facundo, who is about to be posted overseas again, spoke about the importance of care packages to those serving in Afghanistan. “It is like being sent a little piece of home,” Facundo said.
State Representatives Sergio Muńoz, D-Mission, and Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, also spoke at the Operation Interdependence 2014 event. For more information on the charity, go to facebook.com/OIRGV