Cuba Stops Sending Doctors To Brazil For Fear Of Defections
14ymedio, Mario Penton, Miami, 14 April 2017 – Cuba just suspended the
sending of a group of 710 health professionals who would have worked on
the “More Doctors” mission in Brazil, our of fear of desertions,
according to a report from the Brazilian press informed by that
country’s Ministry of Health.
The decision not to send the doctors is an act of pressure from Havana
in the face of the role played by the Brazilian government of Michel
Temer, which has allows more than 80 Cuban health professionals to stay
in the country after the end of their mission.
For the Health Ministry of the island, such action “is not in
conformity” with the agreement signed between the two nations under the
government of Dilma Rousseff. As a part of that agreement, more than
11,000 Cuban doctors remain in Brazil.
“The Cuban government fears that what is happening in Brazil could
infect other Cuban doctors working in third countries,” says Julio César
Alfonso, president of Solidarity Without Borders (SSF), a non-profit
organization that helps doctors who deserted from the missions and to
move to the United States and join the workforce in the healthcare
In the hospitals, polyclinics and doctors’ offices on the island there
are 495,609 workers, according to the most recent official data. Of
these, 58,000 are specialized doctors. The cooperation programs in which
they participate, funded through international organizations, extend to
more than 90 countries in the world, from Africa to Oceania.
Cuba has tens of thousands of doctors abroad. In 2014 the Government
acknowledged that it received $ 8.2 billion for “export of medical
services.” According to independent economists, profits have fallen by
slightly more than one billion dollars, due to the crisis in Venezuela,
but this “leasing out” of medical services continues to be the country’s
main source of income.
“When Cuban professionals leave the country, they are able to see that
they are part of a trafficking scheme that only benefits the Havana
Government. The only way to rebel is to escape and Cuba is not going to
allow that,” says Julio César Alfonso, president of SSF.
Last January, in the last days of the Democratic administration of
Barack Obama, the United States eliminated the Parole Program for Cuban
doctors working abroad, a program that allowed deserters to travel
legally to US territory and to benefit from the Cuban Adjustment Act.
Alfonso and his team are confident that the administration of Donald
Trump is going to reverse the Obama measure.
“It will take a few months, but we are working with great faith in that
project to help the victims of the greatest human trafficking in the
modern era,” he said.
Since 2006 the Cuban Medical Professional Parole has allowed 8,000 Cuban
health professionals to escape and travel to the United States. In 2016,
some 1,400 professionals from Brazil’s More Doctors program took
advantage of these facilities. It is also estimated that more than 1,000
doctors from the island married Brazilians, a way to obtain permanent
residency in Brazil and avoid the compulsory return to the island. Some
1,600 have taken the examinations to revalidate their titles and insert
themselves in the labor market of Brazil.
Cuba has strictly forbidden its “health workers” to have relationships
with “natives” and in its precise code of ethics requires that they
“should be informed immediately,” to remain consistent with
“revolutionary thinking” and “in no way be excessive” (sic).
Brazil’s health minister Ricardo Barros said that he had called on the
Cuban government and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to
relax conditions that forced doctors to return to the island.
Brazil pays about $3,300 per doctor per month to the Pan American Health
Organization (PAHO), which acts as an intermediary – and charges for
this service – with the Dealer in Cuban Medical Services. From the
$3,300, the doctors themselves receive the equivalent of 800 dollars.
After the dismissal of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, the Cuban
government pressured the Brazilian authorities to renegotiate the
contract for the doctors and obtained a 9% increase in payment.
It also achieved a 10% increase in for the cost of feeding doctors in
“We were waiting for something like this to happen,” says one of the
doctors working in the Sao Paulo region.
“The deputy minister, Marcia Cobas, has the eye on us, they do not want
the hen that lays the golden egg to die,” he says.
“They treat us like slaves. We have to work harder than other doctors
and they do not even let our families stay with us in Brazil beyond
three months, the least they cold do is let them stay; they all have to
leave,” says the physician, a specialist in Comprehensive General Medicine.
Where the money goes. 5% commission to broker. 28% stipend to Cuban
doctors. 67% to Cuban government.
Source: Cuba Stops Sending Doctors To Brazil For Fear Of Defections –
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