14ymedio, Miami, August 18, 2018 – Cuban doctor Ramón Domínguez Rivera, originally from the province of Pinar del Río, who was on assignment in Brazil, died on August 16, as reported by his Medical Brigade. Dominguez Rivera worked in Melgaço, Pará state. His body was found three days after he disappeared, according to the local press. One of the heads of Mais Medicos, Lizander Rubio, said on Facebook that the cause of death could be “a cardiovascular condition.”
Some of Dominguez Rivera’s colleagues expressed their grief on the loss of the doctor in social networks. Guillermo Fernández Maqueira stressed the generosity of the deceased. “I know that many of us will remember you, those of us who shared a meal with you, those of us who shared clothes and shoes in the dormitory in order to go out with our girlfriend at night,” he wrote.
According to data compiled by 14ymedio, this is the fifth Cuban doctor that has died in the last four months in the mission deployed in Brazil. In April, Guantanamo native Adrián Reyes Valverde was killed in a motorcycle accident in the municipality of Babaçulândia. A few days later physician Jorge Alberto Borrego died in the crash of the Cubana de Aviación flight last May in Havana.
Luis Alberto Martínez Vila, 29, died last month in a car accident near the city of Redenção, in the state of Pará, and Yanier Samón De Hombre, 32, died after a bout of severe abdominal pain two weeks ago.
Official media rarely report the deaths of any Cuban aid workers abroad.
More than 18,000 Cuban doctors have passed through Brazil since the two governments created the Mais Medicos program in 2013 to increase the presence of health personnel in municipalities and rural areas. After the impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, the number of Cuban doctors in the program has decreased. However, the figure still exceeds 8,000.
Brazil pays Havana around $3,600 per month for each doctor, who, in turn, receives only $900 from the Cuban government. Cuban professionals or their families do not receive compensation in case of accidents or death at work.
The export of medical services is one of the main sources of revenue for the island government, which maintains tens of thousands of health professionals deployed in more than 60 countries, from which it annually derives more than 11.5 billion dollars according to official figures. Human rights activists have criticized this work activity as a form of “modern slavery.”
Translated by Wilfredo Díaz Echevarria
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