Cuba to Close Medical Missions in Brazil and Venezuela / Juan Juan Almeida
Juan Juan Almeida, 16 Ma 2016 — Quite unexpectedly, Cuban authorities
say they are prepared to suspend or cancel medical missions to Brazil
Ever since Cuban informants, who are spread across the continent, warned
that Brazilian legislators were planning to remove President Dilma
Rousseff from power and long before President Maduro began facing
pressure from the opposition-controlled National Assembly, the Cuban
government — calculating as ever and with a proven penchant for creating
adversity — secretly devised a plan B, which has now begun to take effect.
The interim president of Brazil, Michel Temer, publicly stated that his
government does not intend to get rid of the Cuban medical program "More
Doctors," which was established by Rousseff's government. Such
assertions only demonstrate that the acting president is unaware of the
surprise Cuba's shifty ideologues have in store for him.
Perhaps he will learn the hard way that, for the island's government,
the medical missions are more than just a charitable undertaking and a
very profitable enterprise. The are above all instruments of pressure
that are one aspect of an aggressive foreign policy.
A commission made up of members of the Communist party, the government,
the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) and local officials are touring
the island of San Antonio de Maisi to brief staff at every hospital on
plans for removing all Cuban health care workers from Brazil and
Venezuela at a designated time and returning them to Cuba.
This action has two objectives. One is to forestall more doctors from
deserting. The other and more important one is to strike a timely
political blow by withdrawing the services of Cuban doctors in remote
and impoverished areas.
In conversations with staff, this itinerant commission reported that
Cuba receives significant subsidies by leasing out its professionals'
services as part of various overseas health care programs. But it now
plans to amortize its economic losses by backing out of its agreements
with Venezuela and Brazil.
Cuba is fashionable and there will always be places in the world with a
profound need for health care workers. Thus the idea is to redirect
Cuban medical cooperation to other countries and gradually increase
health care access on the island. But not to Cubans. On April 3 the
minister of health, Lina O. Pedraza Rodriquez, signed Resolution
145/2016 which allows doctors to collect up to five percent of the fees
billed to foreign tourists.
Concurrently, MINSAP has released more than 200,000 dollars from the
hard currency reserve on orders from the Central Committee to launch a
big ad campaign that includes an untold number of printed flyers for
distribution through privately owned rental homes, hotels, travel
agencies (both inside and outside the island), the official Ministry of
Foreign Affairs website, Cuban diplomatic missions abroad and MINSAP
affiliated facilities, including hospitals. It is intended to promote
and sell a range of health care services that the country offers.
Source: Cuba to Close Medical Missions in Brazil and Venezuela / Juan
Juan Almeida – Translating Cuba -