Ecuadorian Presidential Candidate Says Cuban Medical Missions “Are Slavery” and Vows to End Them / 14ymedio

Apologies to our readers that this video is not subtitled. Before the shouts of “bravo” Lasso says, that the free healthcare system in Ecuador provided by the government should be in the hands of Ecuadorian doctors. His other statements are reported in the article.

14ymedio bigger14ymedio (with information from Diana Ramos), Quito, 17 March 2017 – Guillermo Lasso, a candidate for president of Ecuador, is against the Cuban medical missions in his country and promised to end them, should he triumph in the upcoming run-off election.

“We must end this slavery of one government negotiating with another that pays poverty-level wages for the services” provided by professionals. He also stressed that Cuban professionals “displace” Ecuadorians in their own country.

“In my government there will be no policy that persecutes any professional sector in Ecuador,” he said on Tuesday, during a visit to Luis Vernaza Hospital in Guayaquil, the candidate’s hometown.

On February 10, Movimiento X Cuba, a civil society group composed of Cuban health professionals based in Ecuador, asked the future president to end the Cuban medical presence there.

“We advocate that Cuban doctors be free and able to decide their own future, their country of residence, and have the freedom necessary to exercise such a dignified profession,” the movement said in a statement.

Some 600 Cuban doctors are working in Ecuador and the Ecuadorian government pays 2,700 dollars a month for each one. From this, the Cuban Ministry of Public Health pays individual doctors barely 800 dollars, with the rest going into the coffers of the state. Profits from this leasing out of medical and other professionals is one of the Cuban government’s largest source of revenue.

Acure, an association of pro-Castro Cubans in Ecuador, spoke out against the “malicious and provocative statement of Movimiento X Cuba” and insisted that doctors from the island have provided medical care “to more than four and a half million Ecuadorian patients,” emphasizing the provision of eye operations and kidney transplants.

“Cuba has trained, free of charge, more than 6,000 Ecuadorian specialists in its universities,” Acure said.

Dr. Daniel Medina, president of Movimiento X Cuba, who defines himself as an opponent of the Cuban government, asked for protection for “all migrants who seek freedom and flee totalitarian regimes like those in Cuba and Venezuela.”

Cubans In Ecuador Ask Ecuador’s Next President To End The Medical Missions / 14ymedio, Diana Ramos and Mario Penton

Cubans working in a medical mission to Ecuador. (américatevé.com)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, 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. continue reading

“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.