14ymedio, Diana Ramos and Mario Penton, Quito/Miami, 10 February 2017 — A group of Cubans in Ecuador united in the Movement X Cuba (MXC) requested in an open letter to the next present of Ecuador, the end of the medical missions of the Cuban government in the Andean nation.
Doctor and president of the association, Duniel Medina, signed the letter that expresses “concern” over the opinions of some of the presidential candidates that the organization considers “xenophobic and poorly focused,” especially with regards to the presence of Cuban citizens in the country.
“We believe it is important to release this communication due to the kinds of statements the candidates are making. Many of them believe that Cubans come here to take Ecuadorian jobs and they think we are all employees of the Cuban government,” says Medina in statements made to 14ymedio.
The president of the association signed the letter that expresses “concern” over the opinions of some of the presidential candidates that the organization considers “xenophobic and poorly focused”
Movement for Cuba defines itself as a peaceful organization that seeks change in Cuba. During its short months of existence has created 3 different cells inside of Cuba. It is fundamentally composed of Cubans who migrated to Ecuador but who maintain a close relationship with their country of origin.
The group of Cubans also stays updated on the situation of their undocumented colleagues in Ecuador and has assisted in several ways the hundreds of migrants who asked for an airlift that would allow them to travel safely to Mexico to continue their journey to the United States.
“We are making a call for attention so that they can differentiate between the Cuban doctors and health professionals who live in Ecuador and share the same fate as the Ecuadorian people,” the note adds.
The MXC, representing Cuban doctors and health professionals who migrated from Cuba to Ecuador, is expressing its desire to put an end to the medical agreements signed by President Correa and the Cuban Government “that undermine the employment opportunities of Ecuadorian and foreign citizens who live in Ecuador.”
Some candidates for presidency of the Republic have emphasized the need to eliminate contracts with Cuba and give priority to Ecuadorian doctors.
Cynthia Viteri, one of the candidates, has called for the “recovery” of jobs in public health by Ecuadorians, as has Guillermo Lasso, who in an interview with the newspaper El Universo indicated that the health sector’s priority is “more non-Cuban Ecuadorian doctors.”
The agreement of cooperation with Cuba stipulates that the salary of Cuban professionals is of 2,700 dollars, of which only 800 dollars ends up in the hands of the professionals themselves while the rest stays with the Cuban government.
The Movement condemns this practice: “We advocate that Cuban doctors be free and can decide their future, their country of residence and have the freedom necessary to exercise such a worthy profession.”
“We advocate that Cuban doctors be free and can decide their future, their country of residence and have the freedom necessary to exercise such a worthy profession.”
Hundreds of Cuban doctors took advantage of the free visa that Ecuador provided between 2008 and 2015 to emigrate to that country. Through a relatively easy process, health professionals achieved the accreditation of their qualifications and were integrated into the national health system.
According to official data, in 2015 almost 800 foreign doctors were in Ecuador, the great majority of Cuban nationality.
After the migratory crisis triggered by the thousands of Cubans who were stranded in Central America in 2015, Ecuador reinstated the visa requirement for citizens of the island. It is estimated that Ecuador hosts the third or fourth largest group of Cubans abroad, with a population of over 40,000 Cubans.
Ecuador is immersed in its electoral campaign. On February 19 the country will elect a new president and decide whether to continue with the program of the current president Rafael Correa or to distance itself from the left.