Mexico Buys Medicines From Cuba for More Than $84 Million

A group of Cuban doctors is received in Mexico, hired by the Government of Andrés Manuel López. (IMSS)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Ángel Salinas, Mexico, 13 February 2022 — The Government of Mexico announced the purchase in Cuba of medicines for anesthesiology, pulmonology, ophthalmology and cancer treatment. According to the Secretary of Health, Jorge Alcocer Varela, for the “already consolidated” acquisition, the Island will receive 84,425 dollars as part of the new health agreement that was ratified with Miguel Díaz-Canel’s visit to Campeche.

This agreement also provides for the extension of the hiring of Cuban specialists. The plan, which has not yet been detailed, foresees that another 100 health workers will arrive in Mexico this year, in addition to the more than 641 doctors for which the Government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador disburses $1,308,922 per month.

The state company Comercializadora de Servicios Médicos Cubanos S.A. is in charge of managing the shipment of doctors. For each specialist, the Cuban Government receives $2,042 per month, while for the services of general practitioners, $1,722 per month enter its coffers. Health professionals are only granted a stipend in Mexico that will be kept by the Cuban Government  during their year of service.

Although there are intentions to continue with the purchase of the Abdala vaccine against covid-19, this has not yet been ratified by Mexico. 14ymedio was able to confirm that, of the 9,000,000 doses already sent to Mexico, less than 3% had been used up to February 7.

About the Cuban specialists who have been distributed in various states, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard proclaimed this Sunday on his social networks that thanks to these professionals “162,000 Mexican lives have been saved.” And so he said goodbye to Díaz-Canel.

However, one day before the enthusiasm of the Mexican chancellor, the data provided by the Mexican Secretary of Health, Jorge Alcocer Varela, reveal something else. Cubans had provided 242,000 services as of Friday, of which, he stressed, 110,246 were specialty consultations.

In detailing part of the activities of physicians in Mexico, Health Secretary Jorge Alcocer explained that Cubans have “coordinated laboratory services”; that is, they have taken samples for the performance of 46,191 clinical analyses and performed 41,418 X-rays for radiological studies.

In June 2022, a report by LatinusUS revealed that Cuban doctors who arrived in Mexico during the pandemic limited themselves to “making beds, taking vital signs and conducting surveys, in addition to passing sponges to patients to bathe.” This contrasted with the triumphalism of the Cuban authorities, who even assumed the decrease in mortality caused by the coronavirus in Mexico.

The general director of the Mexican Social Security Institute, Zoé Robledo, explained that Cubans who arrived in Mexico have a specialty in internal medicine, pediatrics, general surgery, family medicine, ophthalmology, nephrology, intensive care, imaging, cardiology, dermatology and otorhinolaryngology.

Robledo mentioned that doctors are currently in large general and civilian hospitals, as well as in small community health centers “where their arrival often meant the first time there was a  specialist available.”

He mentioned that they are located in the most remote areas such as La Mesa del Nayar, (Nayarit), the Costa Chica (Oaxaca), the desert of Baja California Sur, Cananea (Sonora), Tlaxcala, Colima, Tierra Caliente (Michoacán), in the Huasteca Alta (Veracruz), in Zacatecas, Morelos, Campeche and La Montaña de Guerrero, where 11 specialists arrived just this Sunday to make a total of 29.

On the other hand, there was indignation among Mexican politicians and the media by the delivery to Miguel Díaz-Canel of the Order of the Aztec Eagle, created in 1933 to distinguish foreigners for humanitarian services. This was joined by a group of people who define themselves as “sympathizers of a democratic, liberal and institutional left.”

“There are no ’acceptable left-wing dictatorships’ and ’abhorrent  right-wing dictatorships’,” they said in a public statement, signed  by members of the opposition party Movimiento Ciudadano, including Martha Tagle Martínez, as well as the Party of the Democratic Revolution, Cecilia Soto González, and the academics, Diego Petersen Farah, José Woldenberg, the Cuban academic based in Mexico and Armando Chaguaceda, among others.

“We condemn the president of Mexico for turning a deaf ear to the repression that the citizens of Cuba endure on a daily basis and even for hanging on the chest of the Cuban dictator the highest distinction that a foreigner can receive from our country,” the signatories endorsed.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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