Héctor Abad Gómez

Héctor Abad Gómez (1921 – August 25, 1987) was a prominent medical doctor, university professor, and human rights leader whose holistic vision of healthcare led him to found the Colombian National School of Public Health. He developed practical public health programs for the poor in Medellín. The increasing violence and human rights abuses of the 1970s and 1980s led him to fight for social justice in his community, but his political views put him at odds with those in power and Abad was killed in 1987. He and other great defenders of the human rights of the time shows us the importance of standing up against injustice and fight for the respect for human rights, despite staggering opposition. His son said he learned something from his father that the murderers don't know how to do: to use words to express the truth – a truth that will last longer than their lie.[1][2]

Héctor Abad Gómez
Died25 August 1987(1987-08-25) (aged 66)
Occupationmedical doctor, university professor, journalist, and human rights leader

El olvido que seremos (2006; t. Oblivion: A Memoir)Edit

El Olvido que Seremos (2006; t. Oblivion: A Memoir). It took Héctor Abad Faciolince nearly 20 years to get the courage to write this book about his father, his life and the circumstances of his murder by paramilitaries. The result is a cathartic and sentimental—but not clichéd—account of a man who fought against oppression, and social inequality and whose voice was shut down by six bullets in the head. The narration itself—which focuses more on the father’s activism and the father figure per se than on the man himself—was a process for the author; Abad goes beyond memory, opening up his own feelings and responses to his loss and depicts his father as the symbol of the ongoing fight against injustice, thus, illuminating and strengthening the Colombian memory.

Literary worksEdit

  • Algunas consideraciones sobre salud pública en el departamento de Antioquia (1947).
  • Nociones de salud pública (1969).
  • Pasado, presente y futuro de la salud pública (1969).
  • Visión del mundo (1970).
  • Manual de poliatría: El proceso de los problemas colombianos (1971).
  • Cartas desde Asia (1973).
  • Caracterización del desarrollo científico en Colombia y su relación con la Salud Pública (1986).
  • Relaciones profesores-estudiantes en la Facultad de Medicina de la Universidad de Antioquia (1986).
  • Un programa de salud para Colombia (1986).
  • Teoría práctica de la salud pública (1987).
  • Currículo vitae: Héctor Abad Gómez (1987).
  • Manual de tolerancia (1988)[3]
  • El subdesarrollo mental.
  • Hace quince años estoy tratando de enseñar.

Thoughts of Héctor Abad GómezEdit

1. Either we behave like intelligent and rational animals, having respect for nature and accelerating wherever possible our incipient process of humanization, or the quality of life deteriorates.

2. There is no doubt that we are living through a period in history in which groups of people – ethically superior to us – do not accept as natural the fact that these situations of inequality and injustice should go on. Their fight against the 'establishment' is a hard and dangerous fight. They must confront the anger and unease of the most powerful political and economic groups. They must face the consequences, even those incompatible with their own peace and possibilities; incompatible with attaining so-called success in established society. 'But there is an inner force that impels them to work in favour of those who need their help. For many of them, this force has become their reason for living. This struggle gives meaning to their lives. Living is justified if the world is a little better when one dies, as a result of one's work and efforts. To live simply for pleasure is a legitimate animal ambition. But for human beings, for Homo sapiens, it is to be content with very little. In order to distinguish ourselves from other animals, in order to justify our time on this earth, we must aspire to goals superior to the mere enjoyment of life. The fixation on goals distinguishes some men from others. And here the most important thing is not to achieve those goals, but to fight for them. We cannot all be the protagonists of history. We are all merely cells in the universal human body, but we should be aware that each of us can do something to improve the world in which we live and in which those who come after us will live. We must work for the present and for the future, and this will bring us more happiness than simple pleasure in material goods.

3. The knowledge that we are contributing to building a better world must be the highest of human aspirations.

4. People dedicated to cultivate intellect, also ideas of peace and justice are feeling that they can help the welfare of all human beings, regardless of race, religion or nationality. These people feel that they have a mission they have to fulfill. They Know that the world will never come to Utopia. They know people will never stop working to get a little closer than now, to the fulfillment of higher expectations. But they pass the torch and the flag to the successive generations, hoping that, as days pass by, equality, justice, freedom, and love between humans get better. That, as mentioned before, gives meaning to their lives.


  1. ^ Héctor Abad Faciolince (2006). Oblivion: A Memoir. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 978-0374533939.
  2. ^ "Oblivion: a memoir by Hector Abad wins Wola-Duke human rights book award". wola.org. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  3. ^ Palabras de una vida decorosa Retrieved 27 January 2016.