Cuban Doctors Will Need Permission To Travel For Private Reasons / EFE (14ymedio)

Cuban doctors in Bogotá. (Dened Vega)
Cuban doctors in Bogotá. (Dened Vega)

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), 1 December 2015 — Cuba announced on Tuesday that its physicians will need government permission if they wish to leave the country “for personal reason,” a measure which will take effect starting on 7 December and that coincides with the migration crisis that has led some 4,000 Cubans to be stranded in Central America.

The statement by the Cuban State, published in the official media, specifies that it will apply to professionals who are involved in “vital healthcare services to the population and in scientific-technical activity.”

The article explains that this new provision does not mean that doctors are prohibited from traveling, “but that the dates of their leaving the country will be analyzed, taking into account [the availability of others to fill their positions]” to guarantee the “quality, continuity and stability of the operation of the health services.”

This regulation will also be applied to “mitigate the effects” produced by the “selective and politicized immigration policy of the United States towards Cuba,” and the “growing unplanned recruitment of Cuban doctors in other countries,” according to the official statement.

The extensive article also refers to the round of migration talks yesterday between Havana and Washington, in which Cuba again asked the United States to eliminate the “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy, the Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program and the Cuban Adjustment Act.

For the island, these measures are “the root cause of the illegal immigration,” and “trafficking of emigrants” and the “irregular entry into the United States of Cuban citizens who travel abroad legally,” as well as a “violation” of the bilateral migratory accords.

Thousands of Cuban doctors have defected from “international missions” based in several Latin American countries, including Venezuela, from where they travel “irregularly” through Central American territory in their quest to reach the United States, protected by the Cuban Adjustment Act.

Currently some 4,000 Cubans are stranded on the border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua, most of them coming from Ecuador — the only Latin American country that did not require visas from Cubans — after crossing irregularly through Colombia and Panama.

On 26 November, after the meeting of the Central American Integration System (SICA), which also included Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico and Colombia, Quito announced that starting this Tuesday it will to ask for visas from Cubans who wish to enter the Andean country as tourists.