14ymedio, Havana, 3 October 2020 — Of the 11 million dollars that Kenya spends each year to hire 100 Cuban doctors, a little more than 10% goes into the pockets of the healthcare workers, according to a report published this Thursday by the local newspaper Nation.
The newspaper, which has had access to hundreds of emails and confidential information, emphasizes the fact that each Cuban doctor costs the Kenyan state the equivalent of five local doctors.
A hundred Cuban doctors, hired in 2018, work in Kenya amid a strike by health workers who demanded better working conditions. As a result, the controversial bilateral agreement faced resistance from Kenyan medical associations.
Each doctor in the mission receives 1,000 dollars, the Cuban government pockets 4,000 for each of them and, in addition, Kenya pays 4,220 dollars in expenses (transportation, accommodation, insurance, etc.). It also pays for their airline tickets when they return to Cuba from vacation and insurance for malpractice. All this would complete the figure of $9,220 per month per physician.
The Kenyan newspaper reveals details not only about the amount of the salaries, but about the conditions of the contract with Cuba and the legal implications for Kenya of the presence of the island’s personnel.
Kenya also guaranteed Cuba the safety of its doctors, but in April 2019, two of them, Landy Rodríguez Hernández and Assel Herrera Correa, were allegedly kidnapped by the jihadist organization Al Shahab. Despite talks between the two governments, little is known about them after almost 20 months of captivity.
The United States included the Cuban medical missions in its annual report on human trafficking last July, calling them “forced labor,” and several human rights organizations have also denounced that they are a form of exploitation.
Prisoners Defenders expanded their complaint to the International Criminal Court on behalf of 622 doctors this past September and defined the brigades as the “great capitalist slave business” of the Cuban government.
The export of doctors constitutes the number one source of income for the Cuban economy, according to official data. The island usually keeps 75% of the doctors’ salaries, withholds their passports and punishes those who try to escape from missions.
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