Juan Juan Almeida, 1 June 2017 — An email leak circulating on servers in Cuba confirms that Havana is planning to send soldiers to Venezuela.
According to the document, it is a small contingent of military doctors who are members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR).
The message, to which this author has had access, was sent on 22 May 2017 at 15:47:49 hours, ordering the authorities of Cuba’s Ministry of Public Health to carry out an urgent survey of doctors in the FAR who are studying in the following specialities: Surgery, Neurosurgery, Angiology and Imaging.
The professionals surveys, continues the order, “must state their willingness to travel to the brother Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and, if they are outside Havana, will have to travel in the coming days to the capital.
The Ministry of the Armed Forces will deal with the paperwork and the transportation. “They will not stay,” the document says, “in the UCCM.”
Curious. The Central Unit for Medical Cooperation (UCCM) is subordinated to the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) and has the responsibility of guaranteeing the fulfillment of the commitments contracted by the Cuban government in the field of international medical cooperation, and is where those going to serve on medical missions abroad are always housed before leaving.
As always, the information the leaves the island is generating doubts: why has it become necessary to investigate people who have something to do with the regular sending of physicians to the South American nation?
“On the flight lists for Venezuela,” comments someone who deals with the paperwork for this type of agreement, “none of the names of the supposed collaborators appear. The majority of the flight lists we handle, are vacationers who are in Cuba and are returning. But there’s an explanation, maybe the doctors you are referring to are leaving or will leave on private or military planes.”
Lacking answers to why this is being handled this way, another Ministry of Public Health official comments:
“We are taking out of Venezuela the Cuban health workers who have already completed their missions, even if those who will relieve them have not yet arrive, and now they are surveying military doctors who are working in civilian hospitals, to put together a group of workers to send them urgently to Venezuela.
“This is not usual. The FAR residents, specifically, are doctors not very high up in the hierarchy, they are mostly lieutenants or majors, who do their specialities in our hospitals and, later, when they are specialists, return to their units.
“There is no difference between a civilian and military doctor. The objective must have military purposes, or the Armed Forces are using their doctors to guarantee some kind of secret that they don’t want to divulge.”