Mexico Hires Another 2,700 Cuban Doctors, in Addition to the 1,200 Previously Agreed On

The island’s government only gives doctors a stipend to cover their basic needs.

The director of the Mexican Institute of Social Security, Zoé Robledo, confirms the hiring of more specialists from the Island / Presidency

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Ángel Salinas, Mexico City, July 16, 2024 — The Government of Mexico announced on Tuesday what the “strengthening of health cooperation” agreed with Cuba last May translates into: in the coming months it will import another 2,700 doctors from the Island. At the daily  presidential press conference the official said that, with this hiring, “hospitals and small centers” in rural areas will be able to have “at least 12 doctors,” which will ensure that there is service seven days a week in all work shifts.

The director of the Mexican Institute of Social Security (Imss) explained that 282 hospitals with 20 beds have been detected in rural areas where only four doctors worked, affecting health services. “Many times you could have the anesthesiologist but the surgeon was not there, or vice versa, so, we gave ourselves the task of putting out the call for doctors,” Robledo said.

The 2,700 specialists will join the 950 that, according to Robledo, are in Mexican territory

The 2,700 specialists will join the 950 who, according to Robledo, are in Mexican territory, specifically distributed in 23 states. These are part of a first agreement, signed in 2023, by which the Island would send 1,200 doctors to work in remote areas in the country. Among the new doctors will be specialists in “internal medicine, pediatrics and emergency procedures,” Robledo said, adding that surgeons, anesthesiologists and gynecologists are needed. continue reading

The official also indicated that Cuban doctors will be part of the Imss-Bienestar, the free health organization created by the Government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador to replace the Seguro Popular, in force until that time. However, he did not talk about the payment they will make to the company Neuronic Mexicana, a subsidiary of Neuronic S.A. Cuba, which since 2018 has been a representative of the products and services of the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry of the Island, and is under the presidency of the Cuban Tania Guerra.

A Mexican Health source confirmed last July to 14ymedio that specialists attached to the Imss-Bienestar will receive salaries of 50,000 pesos (2,732 dollars per month), in addition to a bonus of 10,000 pesos (545 dollars), for a total of 3,277 dollars.

In February 2023, a Cuban doctor stated that they only receive “a stipend for their needs” and that their “salary is in Cuba.” Of the amount paid by the Administration of López Obrador, the Government of the Island is left with most of the salary. Organizations such as Prisoners Defenders (PD) have questioned the Government of Mexico over the hiring of Cuban professionals in “conditions of slavery.”

The temporary migration program of health workers with “friendly countries,” said PD, is nothing more than the main inflow of foreign exchange for the Cuban regime, which receives compensation for each professional. Meanwhile, the health workers bear the cost,  through being subjected to contractual conditions that violate the international rules of decent employment and insult “the human condition to the limits.”

Precisely as part of the Imss-Bienestar, Robledo reported that 7,123 doctors have been hired in Mexico City and Guerrero

Precisely as part of the Imss-Bienestar, Robledo reported that 7,123 doctors have been hired in Mexico City and Guerrero. As of August 1, another 11,934 health workers will be sought.

He also reported that the call for the hiring of nursing staff remains open, with 3,646 vacancies: 1,027 for nursing assistants and 2,619 for general nursing staff in 27 entities.

Although none of the parties mentions it, specialists suspect that the import of doctors is the counterpart for oil shipments from Mexican ports, which are increasingly frequent. In any case, relations between the two countries will continue to strengthen during the presidency of Claudia Sheimbaum, who will take office on October 1.

For this, the figure of Lázaro Cárdenas Batel is key, who serves as head of advisers of Andrés Manuel López Obrador and who will be the next head of the Office of the Presidency of the Republic, as announced by the president-elect on July 12. He is unofficially credited with the initiative to import Cuban doctors, as well as to establish different trade relations between the two countries.

Translated by Regina Anavy
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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Mexico Frees 10 Cubans Kidnapped With Ransom Demands of $5,000

As of May, 8,029 Cubans have applied for asylum. Migration reports the irregular transit of 27,404 Cubans in five months

Several migrants rest at the Jesús El Buen Pastor shelter, located in Tapachula (Chiapas) / EFE

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Ángel Salinas, Mexico City, 18 June 2024 — The authorities of Quintana Roo, in Mexico, freed 10 Cubans who were kidnapped last Friday. The victims, including a woman and nine men, said that armed people had held them for several days in a house located at Supermanzana 26 and “demanded a ransom from their relatives.” However, the Police “found no evidence about the alleged kidnappers that could confirm what was said by the foreigners,” according to Ulises, an agent of the Prosecutor’s Office, who held back the identity of the migrants, who were under the protection of the National Migration Institute.

According to the official, the alleged kidnappers demanded a payment of $5,000 from the woman’s relatives. In case “it’s not paid, she would have to work in bars.” However, it is still not corroborated “if there had been contact” in Havana.

The Police “found no evidence about the alleged kidnappers that could confirm what was said by the foreigners”

Ulises stressed to this media that the Cubans’ version is being investigated to know how long they have been in Mexico and how they arrived in the state where they were kidnapped. He rejected the possibility that these people arrived on the fishing boat with registration PR5348F5a, which was abandoned the first week of June in Isla Mujeres. continue reading

“A witness says that he saw the boat with several people pass by Playa de Mascotes. The maritime authorities have already offered details about the boat to Havana,” said the same official.

The Cubans rescued in Quintana Roo requested advice to apply for asylum. According to data from the Mexican Commission for Aid to Refugees (Comar), the number of Cuban immigrants has decreased by 41.9% in the first five months of the year.

With regards to requests for asylum, Cubans are second, with 8,029 requests. Honduras tops the list with 15,389 recorded; then come Haiti (3,353); El Salvador (2,896); Venezuela (2,068); Guatemala (2,014); Colombia (1,010); Nicaragua (456); Ecuador (337); and Chile (192).

However, attorney José Luis Pérez Jiménez considers that the figures offered by Comar “are a mirage.” The asylum seekers on the southern border have the same numbers as for 2023, but Comar takes so long to help them that it does not later record the asylum requests in its statistics, he says.

“By the time Comar notifies the migrant to go to his eligibility interview, four months have passed,” and these foreigners are already on the border with the United States

Pérez Jiménez explains to 14ymedio that “by the time Comar notifies the migrant to go to his eligibility interview, four months have passed,” and these foreigners are already on the border with the United States. “There has not been a reduction in applications for asylum or refuge. It’s still the same; what exists is procrastination at a turtle’s pace.”

Migration announced this Sunday that in the first five months of this year, the irregular passage of “1,393,683 migrants from 177 countries” was recorded. Of this group, 27,404 are from the Island.

For those months, migrants from Venezuela are the largest group with 377,401; followed by Guatemala (209,540); Honduras (144,499); Ecuador (136,699); Haiti (107,432); and Colombia (70,371).

The report does not detail the number of deportations made by Mexico. As of April, 783 migrants had been deported to the Island on commercial flights.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Mexico Fills Positions for National Doctors With Cuban Specialists

A group of Cuban doctors in the state of Tlaxcala (Mexico)/@EmbaCuMex

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Ángel Salinas, Mexico, 7 June 2024 — Cuban specialists are filling positions in Tamaulipas rejected by Mexican doctors because the work clinics are “far from the state capital,” said Marggid Rodríguez Avendaño, coordinator of the IMSS State Welfare. As the director of the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS), Zoé Robledo, said last April, the salaries for these positions are 50,000 pesos ($2,732 per month), which includes a bonus of 10,000 pesos ($545).

A health source consulted by 14ymedio confirmed the hiring of 181 doctors and nurses in Tamaulipas. Among them “there are 27 Cubans who are registered as internists, ophthalmologists and surgeons,” the same source details, adding that 12 of them “are currently being trained in the state capital.”

The same official said that the island’s specialists “will be sent to hospitals located in San Fernando, Rio Bravo, Valle Hermoso and Victoria, where there are problems completing the medical staff.” He does not know if this group will be paid the $2,732 stipulated for those positions, considerably more than the$2,042 per month that Mexico pays the Government of Cuba for each specialist, according to information published by this newspaper, but he sees no impediment because “that money is already budgeted.” continue reading

Cuban doctors at a clinic in Manzanillo, in the state of Colima (Mexico) / Facebook/Manzanillo, Ciudad que Renace!

On the other hand, Rodríguez Avendaño indicated that they are in the “hiring stage” of doctors and nurses. In the state, 200 specialists and general practitioners have been granted jobs as part of the IMSS Bienestar, according to official data.

This Thursday, Andrés Manuel López Obrador´s administration granted more than 209,000,000 pesos ($11,397,277) to Tamaulipas as part of the La Clínica es Nuestra program. The money will benefit 400 health centers. Of these, 269 have a dispensary, 85 have two outpatient clinics, 20 have three to five rooms and 27 have six or more offices to care for insured patients and people without social security.

The hiring of Cuban doctors will continue during the government of newly elected Mexican President Claudia Sheinbaum. The agreement with the Island is to send 1,200 specialists, of whom 841 are already in the country. “We have signed an agreement with the Government of Cuba,”López Obrador confirmed last Tuesday. These doctors “are in the mountains, in Nayarit, in Campeche, in Colima, they are everywhere, and more are coming,” he said.

The most recent group of specialists from the island arrived at the Felipe Ángeles International Airport at the end of April.

Translated by LAR

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Armed Seamen From Mexico Transfer the 28 Cubans Rescued by the Paradise Carnival Cruise Ship

Migration Agents used vans to transport the Cuban rafters rescued last Sunday by the Paradise Carnival cruise ship / X/@INAMI_mx

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Ángel Salinas, Mexico, April 26, 2024 — As if they were criminals, armed seamen guarded the transfer to Playa del Carmen of 28 Cubans, including a minor, last Tuesday. The migrants were handed over by the Paradise Carnival crew, who rescued them on Sunday 20 miles from the Island.

The cruise ship, which arrived at the San Miguel pier that same day, informed the captaincy of ports that among them was a group of rescued rafters. Agents of the National Institute of Migration took care of the Cubans and with the support of sailors took them in vans to the Winjet station, tourist transport ferries in Cozumel, to take them to the immigration station of Playa del Carmen.

A group of Cuban rafters guarded by armed seamen from Mexico at the exit of the San Miguel pier in Cozumel / Facebook/Esquema Cozumel

Darío Canché, who offers tourists diving tours, snorkeling and boat trips, told 14ymedio that before eight in the morning on Tuesday the seamen were already at the pier. “With these operations you think that there’s a shipment of drugs, but they took out several people carrying plastic bags. I asked if it was human trafficking and one of the people from Migration told me it was none of my business.” continue reading

What caught Canché’s attention is that their new footwear had no laces. “When they arrest you and before putting you in the cell they take everything away from you, even the laces, because they’re afraid you’ll kill yourself.”

At the immigration station they refused to give the list of Cuban names to this newspaper, under the argument that there was already an official statement. They also did not want to report why these people were delivered to Mexico and not to the island of Roatán (Honduras), where the cruise ship Paradise was moored last Monday.

Trajectory of the Paradise Carnival cruise ship/ Dayli Mail

The report indicates that the rafters are at the headquarters in Cancún, “where they were provided with care and accommodation while their situation is resolved.” The minor was “channeled” to the municipal System for the Integral Development of the Family (DIF), in the Casa Filtro shelter, which will determine the protection measures and the plan of restitution of rights. Migrant defense attorney Jose Luis Pérez denounced Migration’s lack of transparency: “These Cubans have the right to regularize their stay in the country, but they will surely be isolated and threatened with deportation. It’s a way of scamming them.”

A member of the Beta Group revealed to 14ymedio that Mexico continues to deport Cubans, despite the fact that last October it announced that the process of “assisted calls” – as they call the expulsions – was paused until further notice. Last January, nine people from the Island were returned on a commercial flight. Last year, 774 Cuban migrants were returned.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Mexico Fires Hundreds of Its Own Doctors As It Prepares To Receive More Cuban Doctors

Protest of doctors and nurses who were fired in the Mexican state of Aguascalientes

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Ángel Salinas, Mexico, 2 April 2024 — Mexican doctors belonging to the Institute of Health and Welfare (Insabi) denounce the numerous dismissals of national staff, while the Government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador prepares to receive another group of Cuban specialists. They will join their 806 compatriots, with the intention of establishing a base in the Montaña de Guerrero, an area with a high rate of poverty and insecurity due to the presence of several cartels that dispute the drug routes.

“It’s not fair,” gynecologist Andrea Peña tells 14ymedio. On Monday he accompanied the protest of 300 health workers from the High Specialty Hospital of Bajío (center of the country) who were fired, supposedly because “there is no money.”

“There are no resources for Mexican doctors, but there are resources to give money ($110) to Venezuelan, Colombian and Honduran migrants,” Peña reproaches. “The Government of López Obrador won’t authorize funds for these doctors, who were heroes in the COVID-19 pandemic; instead, he chooses to pay salaries in dollars for Cuban specialists.” continue reading

“It’s not fair,” says gynecologist Andrea Peña, who this Monday accompanied the protest of 300 doctors from the High Specialty Hospital of Bajío   

The Mexican Government paid Cuba $9,667,115 between July 2022 and May 2023 for a contingent of 718 doctors, a source from the Ministry of Health who asked for anonymity told 14ymedio last July.

The payment was initially established under the name of the Cuban Medical Services Marketer, but from September it was redirected to the company Neuronic Mexicana, a subsidiary of Neuronic S.A. Cuba.

Since 2018, according to the official, Neuronic Mexicana has been a representative for the products and services of the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry of the Island, under the presidency of the Cuban Tania Guerra. The company “is in charge of receiving the salary for Cuban specialists.”

Gynecologist Andrea Peña said that last May, the “extinction” of Insabi materialized, but the agreement was to “transfer human resources, the budget of more than 100 billion pesos, the material and with it both the rights and obligations to Imss-Bienestar,” a decentralized body, to guarantee free health services and medicines, but “there was never talk of a cut.”

“Neither the Insabi nor the Imss-Bienestar has transferred the resources to the State for the people who worked under the federal E023 scheme with various profiles of health services,” the Ministry of Health of Guanajuato reported.

Peña said that three officials of the Ministry of Health appeared before those affected arguing that “there are no resources to pay their salaries”   

Peña said that three officials of the Ministry of Health presented themselves to those affected arguing that “there are no resources to pay their salaries,” and the only option would be for them to fill vacancies in other states. “They want to force them to leave their homes and families,” says the health worker.

The dismissals of between 200 and 300 doctors and nurses per state were also recorded in Coahuila, Yucatan, Durango, Guanajuato, Aguascalientes, Chihuahua, Jalisco and Querétaro.

In the face of the protests, the López Obrador Administration pointed out that the affected states decided “not to participate in the ’basification’ process” (moving the doctors to other areas), and because they didn’t join the Imss-Bienestar program, “federal support was withdrawn.” He added that the doctors were notified beforehand.

The Government of Mexico offered to “hire during the second quarter of the year all the workers who are in this situation.” However, Peña says that there is no signed commitment, and “meanwhile, what they are going to live on? There is no guarantee that they will be reinstalled in their positions.”

Translated by Regina Anavy

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Three ‘Coyotes’ Kidnapped 50 Cubans and Threatened To Hand Them Over to Drug Traffickers

Fifty Cuban migrants were held for one week in a house in Oaxaca / FGE Oaxaca

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Ángel Salinas, Mexico, 27 March 2024 — The Mexican authorities rescued 85 migrants, including 50 Cubans, after coyotes demanded $300 each to allow them to continue to the United States. They had been in a house located in Bahías La Ventosa, in the port of Salina Cruz (state of Oaxaca) for at least a week, and according to municipal policeman Felipe Santiago, “the coyotes threatened to hand them over to drug traffickers if they didn’t pay.”

It was thanks to a telephone complaint received by the municipal police that the house could be located. The Police requested the support of the Mexican Navy and the State Investigation Agency to free the kidnapped migrants. During the operation, Santiago reports, two women and a man were captured.

One of the victims said they paid 2,500 dollars per person for their transfer from Guatemala to the U.S. border

According to the official, the detainees are accused of the alleged crimes of “illegal deprivation of liberty, threats and extortion.” One of the victims told the officers that the group had paid 2,500 dollars per person for their transfer from Guatemala to the U.S. border. continue reading

The coyote they paid led the group to Bahías La Ventosa, where a man and two women detained the migrants and asked them for more money, in addition to 20 dollars a day for food and water. “Among the things they found with the human traffickers were the identification papers and cell phones of the migrants,” explains Santiago.

The authorities transferred 50 Cubans, 30 Ecuadorians and five Dominicans who were part of the group to a house in Oaxaca de Juárez. A Migration source reported to this newspaper that the nationals of Ecuador were offered the option of repatriation. If they accept, the Government of Mexico will provide them with $110 a month for six months and help them find a job.

The Migration official told 14ymedio that the Cubans requested assistance from the Mexican Refugee Aid Commission to avoid deportation but “were told that it was only for people who wanted to stay in Mexico.”

The Cubans have been in the immigration station of Oaxaca de Juárez / FGE Oaxaca since Monday / FGE Oaxaca

The Government of Mexico reported this Tuesday that to stop the migratory flow, it agreed with Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador to provide economic support for six months to returning migrants. In addition they are offering them employment in the subsidiaries of the Mexican companies Bimbo and Femsa established in these countries.

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported at the beginning of March that 56% of migrants who crossed Mexico in 2023 suffered some type of abuse, 27% were victims of robbery and 15% of physical threats.

According to data from the Mexican Ministry of the Interior, last year 782,176 “events of people in an irregular migratory situation in Mexico” were recorded, 340,000 more than in 2022.

Translated by Regina Anavy
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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

The Mexican Police Find 22 Cubans in a Drug Trafficking House

The Cubans were found during a search and seizure operation where drugs were being sold. (Municipal Police)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Ángel Salinas. Mexico, 1 February 2024 — A group of 22 Cubans in an irregular situation – seven women and 15 men – was found this Wednesday in a house located in Tultepec (State of Mexico), where drugs were also sold. On their journey to the United States, “the migrants sought protection in this area, not knowing that it is one of the most violent and where the sale of drugs, extortion from businesses and theft predominates,” municipal policeman Efraín Zamudio tells 14ymedio.

The officer specified that the migrants were found during a search of the house after an anonymous complaint about the sale of narcotics. The statement of the state prosecutor’s office confirms the “seizure of bags with narcotics.” Zamudio specified that “the drugs came from drug dealers who were not there at the time of the operation.”

One of the women said that they had arrived there a day earlier and paid 700 pesos for a three-day stay to someone named Fermín, who presented himself as the owner of the house. “We don’t know about drugs, we come from Tapachula,” the Cuban told the officers. continue reading

Zamudio mentioned that because drugs were found, medical tests were performed before the Cubans were handed over to the National Institute of Migration. “A simple protocol, which always respects the human rights of migrants,” stressed the official.

The municipal police of Tultepec delivered the Cubans to Migración on Wednesday, and they were transferred to the station in Las Agujas, in Mexico City, a place that several Cubans have denounced for attempts at extortion and threats by the agents.

After verifying that the Cubans were in good health, they were handed over to Migration. (Municipal Police)

Mayelín Díaz Vargas sent this newspaper a complaint last November against Jorge Rosalino Valencia, head of operational services in Las Agujas. The agent threatened her with promoting her transfer to the state of Tabasco for deportation to the Island if she did not remain silent. This woman had to pay $2,500 dollars for her release, despite the fact that she presented an amparo, which allowed her free transit.

In February of the same year, relatives of Luis Ángel Sánchez and Noelvis La O Pereira sent this newspaper information about the arbitrary detention of Cubans at Mexico City International Airport despite having safe-conducts granted by Migration. These people were kept for several days in Las Agujas.

An extortionist, pretending to be a lawyer, asked La O Pereira’s family for $5,000 in exchange for processing his release, arguing that he presented false documents. However, after several days and in the face of complaints in the media that stated that the agents were violating article 37 of the Migration Law. These people had a safe-conduct pass and also humanitarian parole for the United States, so they could not keep them imprisoned. Sánchez and La O Pereira were released and are now in the United States.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

A Family From Matanzas Denounces the Indifference of the Mexican Authorities to Their Request for Refuge

Yadira San Martín and William Rodríguez have been stranded along with their daughters in Tapachula (Chiapas) since August 2023. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Ángel Salinas, Mexico, 9 February 2024 — The fear of being imprisoned for expressing their dissatisfaction with the regime led Yadira San Martín Grillo, her husband William Rodríguez Acosta and their daughters, Yisel Esthefany and Yinelis Chantal, to leave the Island last year. This family, originally from Matanzas, arrived in Tapachula (Chiapas) on August 15, 2023, with the intention of processing their residence, but the Migration offices collapsed due to the flow of irregular migrants and suspended administrative procedures.

In an attempt to stay in Mexico, they went to the headquarters of the Mexican Refugee Aid Commission (Comar). After several days outside the facilities, they were helped and filled out an application. “We went on the indicated date and told a woman the reasons that led us to leave Cuba and the repression we suffered,” San Martín tells 14ymedio. “We can’t return because the regime doesn’t give work to those who flee. We want to settle in this country; we are hardworking people.” continue reading

According to the organization Sin Fronteras [Without Borders], those who ask for refuge in Mexico face different obstacles to obtain humanitarian status

On January 9, Comar informed them that their request was rejected. Its reason was that they had not “managed to prove a well-founded fear (credible fear).”

According to the NGO Sin Fronteras [Without Borders], those who ask for refuge in Mexico face different obstacles to obtain humanitarian status. Migrants “do not have access to an adequate interview to determine if they can obtain the condition.” In addition, “accompaniment is also not provided to people with disabilities or needs for psychological care.” Sin Fronteras indicated that only one in 10 applicants received a favorable response.

Comar assisted 2,352 Cubans last January, behind the 3,213 Hondurans who are requesting asylum in Mexico.

Lawyer José Luis Pérez, in charge of processing an amparo (protection order) for this family, denounces the incongruity of Article 11 of the Mexican Constitution, which indicates that “every person has the right to seek and receive asylum” but doesn’t explain how to do it “when the National Institute of Migration denies these people any procedure to obtain a humanitarian visa or permanent residence.”

The lawyer filed an appeal in the second district court of Tapachula, so that the family can travel to Mexico City and try to “reverse” Comar’s response at the capital headquarters. In case of obtaining the humanitarian visa or permanent residence, they will opt for the Multiple Immigration Form, which gives them the right to legally stay in Mexico for a certain time.

“There are arguments from the family to support the repression they suffered in Cuba,” the lawyer tells 14ymedio. Article 13 of the Refugee Law is clear, he emphasizes, and refugee status is recognized for every foreigner whose “life, security and freedom have been threatened by widespread violence in his country of origin.”

Translated by Regina Anavy

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

More than 18,000 Cubans Requested Asylum in Mexico in 2023

After nine days of walking, the “Exodus from Poverty” caravan was dissolved. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Ángel Salinas, Mexico, 4 January 2024 — The Mexican Refugee Aid Commission (COMAR) processed documents for 18,386 Cubans during 2023. All of them were part of the 140,982 migrants who requested documents for visitors for humanitarian reasons, which includes asylum cases. This is a “record figure,” the coordinator for COMAR, Andrés Ramírez Silva, told 14ymedio.

Migrants from the Island were the third largest group to which they provided assistance, behind Haitians, with 44,239 applications and Hondurans, with 41,935. Ramírez Silva stressed that despite the fact that the figure is considerable, between “November and December” they observed a decrease in the number of irregular foreigners who went to their facilities.

“Since October it has been agreed with the Ministry of the Interior to give priority to migrants who request asylum and want to remain in Mexico,” the official also explained, who attributed the collapse suffered during the year to the misinformation among foreigners who came to obtain transit permits so as not to be arrested. continue reading

Not to be confused with those who continue to arrive in Mexico. The flow has been very large and that is why the meeting took place between Mexico and the United States”

Ramírez Silva clarified that this decrease refers to migrants who approach COMAR: “Not to be confused with those who continue to arrive in Mexico. The flow has been very large, and that is why the meeting between Mexico and the United States took place.”

Guillermo wants to reach the United States, but he distrusts the Mexican authorities who have offered the almost 5,000 migrants who make up the so-called “Exodus of Poverty” caravan a “humanitarian visa” to be able to transit to the northern border. “They are going to return us to Tapachula and put us in prison,” he fears.

This Cuban tells 14ymedio that neither he nor nine other Cubans are going to get on the buses that Migración sent to the municipality of Mapastepec to transfer them to the custom facilities of Cerro Gordo, located on the Huixtla-Villa Comaltitlán section. He says that they will get the documents, but they will continue walking.

Zuselmi García López and the other 12 Cubans whom Migración tried to extort, charging 1,500 Mexican pesos (88 dollars) each, have left the caravan. “The same day of the complaint they took advantage of the night to continue in a van,” says Guillermo.

A group of the so-called “Exodus of Poverty” caravan in the municipality of Mapastepec (Chiapas). (Facebook/Girasol TV)

The coordinator of the Center for Human Significance, Luis Villagrán, told this newspaper that Migration committed to provide special attention to the vulnerable groups of the caravan (minors, women, the elderly). These will be attended to through the DIF (National System for the Integral Development of the Family) and will be provided with “assistance and services to meet their family needs.” The remaining migrants will be transferred to other parts of the country, but he did not specify where.

While the procedures are being carried out for the members of the caravan, the Secretary of the Interior, Luisa Alcalde Luján, reported the rescue of 31 people who were kidnapped in the state of Tamaulipas.

Without breaking down the figures by nationalities, Migration said that last year 135,382 documents were issued for visitors for humanitarian reasons, of which 97,545 were refugees, 25,402 were victims of persecution and 9,103 were given documents for humanitarian reasons.

They also delivered 136,235 documents for temporary residents, 83,529 to applicants for permanent residence, 69,517 to regional visitors and 6,637 for border workers.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Mexico Investigates the Links of Coyotes of the Cuban Mafia With 12 Rafters Arrested in Cancun

A group of Cuban balseros (rafters) was arrested while abandoning a boat in Cancun (Quintana Roo). (Saber Politico)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Ángel Salinas, Mexico, November 28, 2023 — The authorities of Cancun, in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, are investigating whether the 12 Cuban rafters arrested this Monday, four women and eight men, are related to the network of coyotes that has operated under the command of the Cuban Mafia since 2009 in the region. “The raft was located when it was approaching Chac Mool beach, and from the moment they disembarked they ran to Kukulcán Boulevard,” officer Jacinto Pech May tells 14ymedio.

The agent says that the migrants were guided by at least three people who managed to escape. “At least six people fled, including three who indicated the route they should follow, but most of them were intercepted on the boulevard.”

Despite the fact that several of the members of the Cuban Mafia are continuing with judicial proceedings in the United States, Pech May does not rule out that “groups of coyotes who have ties to this criminal network are operating on their own and transferring Cubans clandestinely.” However, the detainees would only say that they entered the country illegally. continue reading

According to the investigations, the Cuban Mafia, through Maikel Antonio Hechavarría Reyes and Mónica Susana Castillo, was in charge of nabbing Cubans, and in Mexico, they were subjected to threats and extortion.

According to the investigations, the Cuban Mafia, through Maikel Antonio Hechavarría Reyes and Mónica Susana Castillo, was in charge of nabbing Cubans, and in Mexico, they were subjected to threats and extortion

In September of last year, a fisherman pointed to Cancun as one of the routes used by coyotes and rafters to escape the Island. “We are cantankerous, and if we help, we are not going to confess it,” Javier Robles told this newspaper in reference to fishermen who transport migrants clandestinely.

Before the pandemic, illegal exits took place from Pinar del Río, which is 220 miles from Cancun and 211 miles from Isla Mujeres, two of the points marked by authorities for the rescue and arrest of Cubans on the high seas. The coyotes charge about $7,000 for the transfer.

Pech May accepts that last year several arrivals were recorded, but in 2023, the “rescues” of migrants by land have been registered when “they are intercepted by the National Guard and Migration agents on their crossing by bus.”

Regarding the rafters, the officer mentioned that after verifying that the migrants were in good condition, they were handed over to the National Institute of Migration (INM). “Their situation will depend on the authorities; for our part, there is no crime.”

Translated by Regina Anavy

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Cuban Families Denounce Mexico’s Immigration Authorities for Deception and Extortion

Lismaidy Portal Benacho, her children Adam Jesús and Andrea, and her husband Leynier Valle Machado are in Guadalajara. (José Luis Pérez)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Ángel Salinas, Mexico, 14 November 2023 — Despite numerous complaints, Mexico continues to extort money from migrants. On this occasion the victim was Mayelín Díaz Vargas, a Cuban. As attorney José Luis Pérez Jiménez told this newspaper, the woman was “coerced” by Jorge Rosalino Valencia, head of operational services of the immigration station of Las Agujas in Mexico City to “stop talking” about the 2,500 dollars that he demanded for not deporting her.

“Rosalino Valencia promised her a document in return for not ratifying the accusation and for not following up with the amparos (protection orders),” the lawyer tells 14ymedio. “The agents released her last Saturday. They took her from the facilities and told her to straighten it out, and if they arrested her again, they would deport her.”

Díaz Vargas is located in Mexico City. He doesn’t want to go out on the street or talk to strangers. He is afraid of being arrested. On Monday night he learned from television news that 246 migrants were arrested in what Migration called a “cleanup operation.” continue reading

Initially, the detainees were allowed to carry out their immigration procedures. “They were deceived and transferred to the states of Tabasco and Chiapas, where Migration denied them a safe-conduct to continue  to the border with the United States,” says the lawyer. These Central Americans, Venezuelans and Haitians, among whom there are 54 children, “have not received any documents.”

Rosalino Valencia promised her a document in exchange for not ratifyiing the accusation and not following up with the amparos.

In recent weeks, Mexico has tightened measures to stop the migratory flow. Between November 9 and 14, Migration recorded, as it usually calls it, the “rescue” (detentions) of 600 migrants, including 32 Cubans, who were trying to reach the United States by bus. The president of the Advisory Council of the National Institute of Migration, Mauro Pérez, complained about the “containment measures” used against irregular foreigners and the eviction of the 246 people at the Mexico City Bus Station.

In the vicinity of the bus terminal the Migration vans can be seen patrolling.  Inside, there are constant sweeps by the agents, which has prevented Mayelín Díaz from being able to buy a ticket to Tijuana. “She is suspicious of the airport authorities, who arrested her and handed her over to the agents be locked up,” says the lawyer.

On the other hand, after several days of pressure, a family of the group of Cubans injured in Pijijiapan, where 10 women from the Island died, managed to travel from Tapachula to Tuxtla Gutiérrez. Last Monday they boarded a flight to Guadalajara and plan to continue their journey to the United States.

Lismaidy Portal Benacho, who is a doctor, has been in charge of curing the injuries of her children Adam Jesús and Andrea, who suffered burns in the accident, after they were denied medical attention and a humanitarian visa in Tapachula. Meanwhile, her husband, Leynier Valle Machado, has already recovered from his injuries.

No one in the Tapachula hospitals wanted to take care of the children, the lawyer says. The doctors closed the doors despite the fact that Portal Benacho asked that she be permitted to attend to them herself. “Migration also pressured these people and threatened to arrest them and separate the mother from the children,” says Pérez Jiménez.

On Tuesday, another 162 migrants, including seven Cubans, were arrested by the military in the state of Veracruz. The group was traveling on a bus that was intercepted on the Coast of the Gulf of Coatzacoalcos-Villahermosa highway, near the town of Nuevo Teapa.

The group of Cubans was detained in the Acayucan immigration station. The authorities refuse to give reports to this newspaper about the reason for the arrests .

Translated by Regina Anavy

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Mexican Agencies Take Advantage of Cubans and Double the Cost of Tickets

Aerial image of migrants, including Cubans, in the Tapachula ecological park. (EFE)

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Ángel Salinas, Mexico, 28 September 2023 — Travel agencies in Tapachula (Chiapas) are doubling the cost of tickets for Cubans who want to fly to Mexico City or the U.S. border. This was reported to 14ymedio by Yumara, a 29-year-old Cuban who was processed by the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance (Comar) for the “complementary protection” document that guarantees her stay in Mexico while requesting an asylum appointment for the United States through the CBP One application.

Yumara tried to buy a ticket at Tapachula International Airport, but Migration agents warned her that “it wasn’t allowed,” without showing her any official document. On the outskirts of the air terminal, she was offered a ticket to Tijuana (Baja California) for 16,000 pesos. “You arrive directly at the border to follow your procedure,” they told her. For a ticket to Mexico City, she was charged 15,000 pesos.

“What are these people thinking? I don’t have the money for this; I will try to go by land to Mexico City and from there to the border,” says Yumara, who knows of many Cubans, Venezuelans and Colombians who have paid the extra cost of the ticket sold by the travel agencies.

José Estrada, of the local agency Aerotur, argues that the increase in ticket price is due to the high demand caused by migrants. He also denies that the immigration authorities prevent them from boarding the flights. “They warn them that if they don’t have a transit permit, they can’t fly,” he says. continue reading

He insists on the extra cost of the tickets and points out that Volaris has flights from 7,000 pesos and Aeromexico from 9,000. “Nobody forces them to resort to an agency.”

Estrada says that 70% of the flights are occupied by migrants from Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Haiti, and the remaining 30% are Mexicans. Yumara says there are no Haitians buying tickets. “He is lying. They live on the street, and most of them are washing clothes or cleaning to have one meal a day. I don’t see them having to pay 15,000 pesos for a ticket.”

Volaris aircraft at Tapachula International Airport. (El Orbe)

Alfredo Gálvez Sánchez, from the Vuela travel agency, accepts that the cost of a ticket to Mexico City, which at the beginning of the year was 4,000 pesos, has risen to 15,000 pesos. “This is because people who arrive at the agencies want to fly the next day, and you have to look for seats among the airlines.”

According to figures from the IWA, the demand for tickets is 1,200 per day.

The new migratory wave in Tapachula has caused a shortage of eggs, bread, rice and beans, warn shelter directors and activists in the region, who demand the intervention of the Government. “In supermarkets, sugar has already doubled in price, between 33 and 40 pesos (1.8 dollars and 2.28 dollars) for 2.2 pounds,” the director of the Todo Por Ellos shelter, Lorenza Reyes Núñez, said in an interview with EFE.

The activist complained that the Mexican authorities “do nothing” to stop the migratory flow and leave all the work to Comar, which has collapsed due to the arrival of thousands of foreigners daily in recent weeks.

Tapachula has been the scene this month of stampedes of thousands of migrants seeking an asylum appointment in Comar, demonstrations in the offices of the National Institute of Migration and undocumented people sleeping on the streets.

Dani Rorube, a migrant from Cuba, said that they are dissatisfied with the lack of issuance of transit documents, so they will set up a caravan to leave Tapachula. “We have gone to Migration, from Migration they send us to Comar, and they have us by the hairs, as the Cubans say. Everyone wants to walk, go in a caravan or with a coyote, but it’s a lot of money.”

Translated by Regina Anavy

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Cuba Identifies 9 of the 10 Who Died in the Accident in Mexico, but Refuses To Give Their Names

Eleven Cubans, who were injured in the accident in Pijijiapan (Chiapas), were discharged. (Cuban Embassy in Mexico)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Ángel Salinas, Mexico, 4 October 2023– Cuban authorities have identified nine of the ten people who died last Sunday in a traffic accident in Pijijiapan (Chiapas), but at the moment they have not publicly said who they are. According to the consul in Mexico City, Miguel Ángel Moreno Carpio, “all the deceased will be repatriated shortly.”

In a video uploaded to the diplomatic headquarters’ Facebook account, the consul mentioned that he is “working diligently” together with the Mexican authorities to identify the missing victim of the incident.

A nurse at the Pijijiapan hospital, where some of the injured are being treated, confirms to 14ymedio that among the deceased are Dayanes Morales Piedra, 23 years old, Naelis Carrillo Rodríguez, Aylen Moreira Guimarais, María Fernanda Lara (12), Zulema de la Caridad Amarral Valverde (16), Alicia de la Caridad Rodríguez Montero (22) and Shakira Martínez. The nurse does not have authorization to provide the other three names.

Selena, Shakira’s sister, requested the help of the authorities for the repatriation of her sister’s body. The deceased young woman, originally from Holguín, left Cuba more than a month ago in the company of her sisters with the purpose of reaching the United States, commented independent reporter Neife Rigau, a friend of the young women. continue reading

“I don’t understand why they don’t release the list. They asked us not to report anything without consular authorization,” the nurse tells 14ymedio. “Each of the cases have been detailed to the authorities. Among those hospitalized there are several minors who required specialized care and had to be transferred to other institutions.”

Immigration agents take data from two Cubans who were traveling in the truck that crashed last Sunday in Pijijiapan (Chiapas). (Migration’s national institute)

The injured have been treated at Huixtla, Mapastepec and Tonalá hospitals, as well as Pijijiapan. The initial list included Damelos Talavera Sánchez, 32, Mailen Melissa Aliaga Tamayo (24), Ariany Velasco Moreira (7), Yaritza Alen Cuitc (44), Eliani Dueña Carrillo (6), Melissa Guilarte Cerrando (18), Elisa Mauro Chávez Prieto (20), Sonia Tamayo Rosales (53), Daykenia Rodríguez (46), Diana Iris Lozano Moleón (26), Armando Cárdenas Césped (60), Alejandro Adrián Velasco (12), Yorlaine Valverde Pastor (17), Ross Liz Cortina Mandearable (18), and Félix Arriaga Suárez (46).

The Cuban consul did say that 11 people were discharged and another “six receive personalized medical assistance.” Among them is a minor who “receives treatment for lung involvement.”

The nurse explained to this newspaper that the difference in the figures occurs because two of the injured “did not need hospitalization.” Two of the patients, she said, “were admitted with the diagnosis of serious illness to the General Hospital of Huixtla.”

The Chiapas State Prosecutor’s Office opened an investigation file for the crime of reckless homicide in “traffic events” against the person or persons responsible for this incident.

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

The Supreme Court of Mexico Demands Data on the Expired Doses of Cuba’s Abdala Covid Vaccine

At least 335,244 doses of the Cuban Abdala vaccine, which was bought by Mexico, expired in August. (@SSaludCdMx)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Ángel Salinas, Mexico, 1 September 2023 — The Supreme Court of Mexico has ordered the Federal Ministry of Health on Thursday to reveal the number of vaccines against COVID-19, including the Cuban Abdala, which expired before their application, as well as the manufacturer and batch of origin. In a statement, the Court stressed that this information “does not put national security at risk” nor the fight against the pandemic, as argued by the Government, which did not want to reveal the data.

14ymedio learned that at least 335,244 doses manufactured on the Island expired in August and that they had been distributed in the states of Coahuila, Chihuahua, Jalisco, Puebla and Oaxaca. Of these, 70,000 were authorized in Coahuila to be applied as a booster against the virus for another 18 months.

The Government of Mexico also defined as “classified,” for five years, all the information related to the hiring of Cuban specialists, as well as the agreements and payments made for the shipment of 9,000,000 doses of the Abdala vaccine. The Judicial Counsel blocked the information, claiming that offering details about the process of confidentiality agreements could be taken advantage of by criminal groups.

An intensive care nurse, Vannesa Ordoñez, who denounced the use of expired Cuban doses in Coahuila, told 14ymedio that in the state of Zacatecas, 400 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, expired since November 2022, were injected into children who went to the Francisco Esparza health center. continue reading

COFEPRIS authorized the use for another 18 months of the 70,000 doses of the Cuban Abdala vaccine that expired in August. (Facebook/Coahuila Ministry of Health)

“There is concern in health personnel because this was made known just after COFEPRIS (the Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks) authorized the use of expired Cuban doses in Coahuila. In Zacatecas there was an anonymous complaint, which we were able to verify,” she explains. Ordoñez warned that “children are a vulnerable sector, and every medicine given to them must be made transparent. The parents are the ones who give consent, and they must be informed.”

Last January, expired doses of Pfizer were also used under the argument that they could be administered up to 12 months after the expiration date, October 31, 2022, as indicated on the bottle. On that occasion, the authorities of the state of Guerrero assured that “there was no problem” and that the drugs “served and could be administered until February” of 2023.

In September of last year, it was shown that the Government of Mexico had disposed of 5,041,050 doses of anti-covid vaccines, of which 3,409,440 were from the British AstraZeneca vaccine and 1,631,610 from the Russian Sputnik, which were in a warehouse of the Birmex company and in the National Institute of Virology.

Mexico has acquired anti-covid vaccines of different brands from several countries, such as Pfizer, Cansino, Covax, Sputnik-V, AstraZeneca, Janssen, Moderna and Abdala. According to official figures, out of 129 million Mexicans, some 90% of the country’s population has been immunized.

Despite the fact that the Abdala vaccine has been rejected by the population because it does not have the endorsement of the World Health Organization, COFEPRIS, in charge of the control of medicines, authorized the use of the Sovereign 02 and Sovereign PI doses, manufactured on the Island.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Mexico Has Paid Havana About 10 Million Dollars for 718 Cuban Medical Specialists

Last week a group of Cuban specialists arrived in  Guerrero. (Facebook/Salud Guerrero)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Ángel Salinas, Mexico, 15 July 2023 — The Mexican Government paid Cuba $9,667,115 between July 2022 and May of this year for a contingent of 718 doctors, according to a source from the Ministry of Health who requested anonymity. Of the specialists, 128 are still receiving training or processing the necessary documentation to practice, and the remaining 590 have already been distributed in 11 states of Mexico.

Among the 128 Cuban health workers who are in training, there are 18 specialists who were rejected in Morelos for not having a professional card. “These doctors are all in the same state, and their documentation is being expedited to be forwarded to another region.”

According to the official transparency portal – a publicly accessible information platform – the contract, which entered into force in May 2022, requires a monthly disbursement of 1,177,300 euros by Mexico for the services of 610 Cuban health workers. The payment was initially established under the name of the Comercializadora de Servicios Médicos Cubanos, but since September it was redirected to the company Neuronic Mexicana, which is a subsidiary of Neuronic S.A. Cuba.

Since 2018, according to the official, Neuronic Mexicana has been representing the products and services of the Island’s biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry, and the president, Tania Guerra, is a Cuban. The company “is in charge of receiving the salary of the Cuban specialists.” In summary, it has “custody of and administer the funds that the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) allocates to the contingent,” he added. continue reading

In the Mexican state of Colima, Mexican doctors have questioned the fact that Cuban specialists are given accommodation and food. (Facebook/Government of Colima)

The doctors, who arrived in the middle of last year with the intention of establishing a base in the Montaña de Guerrero, one of the most troubled points in Mexico due to its high poverty rates and the presence of several cartels that dispute the drug transport channels, have been relocated to the states of Baja California Sur, Campeche, Colima, Michoacán, Nayarit, Oaxaca, Sonora, Tlaxcala, Veracruz and Zacatecas.

According to official data from the federal Ministry of Health, only 43 specialists in cardiology, otolaryngology and gastroenterology were sent, although they had also promised the arrival of pediatricians. Despite this, the state government, led by an ally of President López Obrador, proclaimed the increase in consultations and the improvement of medical services.

In the Ometepec region, located on the Costa Chica de Guerrero, three Cubans joined the Tomás Molina hospital in the last week of June. These doctors “cannot talk to the media,” a nurse from the medical center itself confirmed by telephone to 14ymedio. “Annel [the cardiologist] cannot attend to them; both she and the dermatologist and the other doctor need authorization from their coordinator,” Alfredo González Lorenzo, the nurse replied when this newspaper requested direct contact with the Cuban specialists.

As part of the Guerrero health project for this year, the deployment of four Cuban psychiatrists in mental health caravans, in addition to offering itinerant services, will collaborate in the hospitals of San Marcos, Tlapa, Coyuca de Catalán and Chilpancingo. The plan for mental health specialists has been questioned, because the main causes of death in the state are diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.