Defections by Cuban Doctors in Venezuela Double / 14ymedio

Cuban doctors before leaving on a “mission” (EFE)
Cuban doctors before leaving on a “mission” (EFE)

14ymedio, Havana, 10 November 2014 — Some 700 Cuban health professionals defected from Venezuela between September 2013 and September 2014, according to data published Sunday in Caracas by the daily El Universal. The majority went to the United States and reported the deterioration of their work conditions.

This figure doubles the number from the same period a year earlier, when some 300 professionals left their missions, according to information from Solidarity Without Borders (SSF), an organization with headquarters in Miami that helps Cuban health professionals looking for a better future.

“The worsening of conditions in Venezuela is causing an increase in defections. The lack of safety, low pay, worker exploitation and control over private life continue to be the big reasons,” said Doctor Julio Cesar Alfonso, president of the organization, to El Universal.

Alfonso explains that the most significant increase was registered after the death of President Hugo Chavez. Among other reasons that impel doctors to escape, according to the organization’s president, are the devaluation of the bolivar, an average salary of 100 dollars at the official exchange rate and few prospects for professional development.

The phenomenon is not limited to Venezuela and, according to Solidarity Without Borders, some 1,100 Cuban professionals abandoned their missions abroad between September 2013 and 2014.

Translated by MLK