Jeovany Vega — Why are so few people surprised that the Castro regime withdrew its collaborators from the Mais Medicos (More Doctors) program in Brazil?
As soon as his investiture was announced, the elected president of the giant of the south, Jair Balsonaro, confirmed what he had announced several months ago and what already seems an accomplished fact: he will only allow the Cuban physicians to remain in Brazil if they pass a Brazilian licensing exam and if they are paid their salary in full regardless of the intermediation of the government of Havana. In exchange, he guarantees these professionals immediate residence in country and visas for all their family members, something the Plaza of the Revolution rejected outright, as expected.
“The modifications announced impose unacceptable conditions and breach the guarantees agreed upon since the beginning of the Program…” argued the Cuban Ministry of Public Health, although in reality the dictatorship’s meaning is: such modifications would not allow me to cheat my slaves out of three quarters of their salary which, until now, I was unscrupulously stealing.
This clearly demonstrates that as far as the Cuban dictatorship is concerned, closing off the faucet of profit also automatically and instantly extinguishes its “philanthropic vocation.” Because according to the words through which the Castros have governed Cuba, “philanthropy” has presumably been the raison d’etre of the more than sixty official medical missions that the regime of the island sustains abroad: everything has been done, first and foremost, for purely humanitarian reasons.
That, in passing, these magnates have pocketed more than 10 billion dollars, guaranteed, each year for the last two decades, well… those are secondary details! But absolutely first and foremost, according to the cynical jargon of the dictators, has been the “internationalist vocation” of the Cuban “Rob-olution” and the altruism of those thousands of professionals who opted fervently for that alternative, not as an act of despair because in Cuba they live on the verge of misery with an absurd salary, but rather because everything they did was done disinterestedly for the poor of the Earth.
But now, suddenly, it seems the poverty of Brazil’s favelas — its urban slums — and Amazon has ended. Now, that the pimp will not receive more easy money, it turns out that he collects his shillings and orders his pure victims to report immediately in Havana. Now that the money for the dictatorship has stopped flowing, the same poor people who until yesterday adorned the rhetoric of the speeches no longer matter.
How many doctors will return to Cuba* and how many will have the courage to dare to try their luck and exercise freely in that country, from now on under decent conditions? Half and half? Will a third, or a quarter, defect? This remains to be seen. Betting on a figure is risky because you should not underestimate the power of coercion, intimidation and control which the most virulent dictatorship in the hemisphere is capable of exercising over its citizens, even when separated from them by thousands of miles across the sea.
We cannot forget that when they went to Brazil they left behind in Cuba parents, husbands and wives and children held hostage, and that the regime is an expert in playing those cards without mercy whenever it pleases, and much more so if they give it the ability to hurt where it hurts most.
Nobody doubts the certain reprisals Havana will take against the irreverent ones. In fact, many cases visits from the “black hand of the regime” have already been reported by family members on the island, threatening them with greater or lesser subtlety, but always leaving clearly planted the aberrant idea: if their family members in Brazildare to desert they will not see them again for at least eight years
Undoubtedly, risking close to a decade without seeing one’s children will be something that will have a strong dissuasive power, and this is very clear to the Cuban collaborators themselves, so the decision will depend on the concept that each one has of himself, the degree of nobility she is capable of taking on this dilemma, and — why not? — even their philosophy of life; in short, something reserved only for the elect, for those more free, or perhaps the most reckless?
But if there is one thing there is no question about, it is that with this move Balsonaro screwed, in fact really fucked, Raul Castro and company, because those more than 11,400 Cuban doctors deployed in Brazil, represented so far nothing more and nothing less than a fifth of the total collaborators deployed all over the world, which implies that the pimps of the Plaza will suddenly find more than 2 billion dollars per year will disappear and no longer be deposited in their secret accounts.
And to this multibillion-dollar impact must be added to despicable political blow dealt to the very testicles of the dictatorship when the final number of deserters is announced, and the repressors know it, which is why they haven’t wasted any time to avoid it, making use of their usual miserable tricks.
But in the end, would Havana risk retaining thousands of relatives in Cuba who request reunification with the approval of the host country? What would it argue in that case to disguise what would clearly be an open retaliation, violating the most basic rights of those families separated by force? Would it be able to withstand the political pressure that thousands of Elians** would generate, but vice versa, requested by their parents to join them, from Brazil? Only to imagine the drama intimidates.
But let us not underestimate a well-demonstrated fact: the ability of the island’s authorities, always blinded by arrogance, to shuffle obtuse decisions in the face of similar situations in order to finally settle for the stupidest, for which the above-mentioned is a scenario that can not be discarded at all.
Let us not forget that greed obfuscates these satraps who continue to call the authentic democratic exercise of parliament that, making a natural use of its powers, pushed aside the corrupt Dilma Rousseff through tools clearly established in their laws and its Constitution, a “… legislative-judicial coup d’état … ”
A second wave of the Ladies in White could be the answer to such a decree, something that I, in the place of Raul Castro, would not risk at a time when his ill-fated day is approaching: the one that will see Nicolás Maduro leave through a popular and forceful kick in the ass in the already imminent elections of 2019, and a replacement announcing from Miraflores Palace, in the name of the Venezuelan people, that they are not willing to serve as pimps for Havana.
*This article was written before the final accounting of doctors returning and not returning to Cuba from Brazil, but it appears that a considerable number stayed behind.
** A reference to Elian Gonzalez, the child rafter rescued from the sea, who in the year 2000 was the subject of a major international spectacle as his custody was disputed.