EFE, via 14ymedio, 13 February 2019 — Cuba is willing to let Cuban doctors who decided to stay in Brazil after the end of the Mais Medicos program come home again. Cuban authorities withdrew from the program at the end of last year, telling doctors who decided to stay in Brazil that they would not be allowed to visit the island for eight years.
Cuba’s Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) affirmed that it is in a position to receive Cuban doctors, “including those who decided not to return at the conclusion of their mission” in Brazil and to offer them employment in the national health system, according to a statement disclosed by state media.
“Our Embassy and consulates in Brazil are ready to support their return, providing them with the required documentation and assisting them in whatever they need,” he said.
Minsap said that it recently became known that the Mais Médicos program was definitively canceled by the government of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
In this regard, it says that Brazil has not fulfilled its promise to offer employment to Cuban doctors who chose not to return to Cuba at the end of their mission, as well as some others who formed families with Brazilian citizens and who “honorably fulfilled” their commitment to Cuban public health and to the Brazilian people.
The statement also accuses the “historical adversaries of the Cuban Revolution and the enemies of its public health system” of taking advantage of this situation and of lobbying in the United States to resuscitate “old programs of brain theft,” such as the Parole Program that allowed Cuban health professionals to leave international postings and easily emigrate to the United States.
The declaration also notes that on December 14 it was announced that Cuban health workers would not continue participating in the Mais Médicos program in Brazil.
That decision took place as a result of statements by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who described the island’s professionals as “slaves” of a “dictatorship,” and he also questioned their qualifications.
The Cuban Ministry of Public Health then explained that it decided to withdraw its doctors due to the “threatening and derogatory” statements of Bolsonaro, who proposed “unacceptable” modifications to the program that went beyond the agreements with the collaborators, established through the Pan American Health Organization.
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel said last December that when his government decided not to continue with the Mais Médicos program, 8,471 collaborators were in Brazil, of whom 7,635 had completed their mission, and 836 doctors had not yet returned to the island.
The participation of Cuban doctors in the Mais Médicos project began in 2013 under the mandate of then Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, of the Workers’ Party (PT), with the aim of guaranteeing health care to isolated communities in the Amazon, in the urban favelas and in other poor areas of the South American country.
According to Minsap data, in the five years of work in the program, nearly 20,000 Cuban employees provided care to more than 113,350 million patients in more than 3,600 municipalities and Cubans constituted 80% of all doctors participating in the initiative.
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