Mexico Fires Hundreds of Its Own Doctors As It Prepares To Receive More Cuban Doctors

Protest of doctors and nurses who were fired in the Mexican state of Aguascalientes

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Ángel Salinas, Mexico, 2 April 2024 — Mexican doctors belonging to the Institute of Health and Welfare (Insabi) denounce the numerous dismissals of national staff, while the Government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador prepares to receive another group of Cuban specialists. They will join their 806 compatriots, with the intention of establishing a base in the Montaña de Guerrero, an area with a high rate of poverty and insecurity due to the presence of several cartels that dispute the drug routes.

“It’s not fair,” gynecologist Andrea Peña tells 14ymedio. On Monday he accompanied the protest of 300 health workers from the High Specialty Hospital of Bajío (center of the country) who were fired, supposedly because “there is no money.”

“There are no resources for Mexican doctors, but there are resources to give money ($110) to Venezuelan, Colombian and Honduran migrants,” Peña reproaches. “The Government of López Obrador won’t authorize funds for these doctors, who were heroes in the COVID-19 pandemic; instead, he chooses to pay salaries in dollars for Cuban specialists.”

“It’s not fair,” says gynecologist Andrea Peña, who this Monday accompanied the protest of 300 doctors from the High Specialty Hospital of Bajío   

The Mexican Government paid Cuba $9,667,115 between July 2022 and May 2023 for a contingent of 718 doctors, a source from the Ministry of Health who asked for anonymity told 14ymedio last July.

The payment was initially established under the name of the Cuban Medical Services Marketer, but from September it was redirected to the company Neuronic Mexicana, a subsidiary of Neuronic S.A. Cuba.

Since 2018, according to the official, Neuronic Mexicana has been a representative for the products and services of the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry of the Island, under the presidency of the Cuban Tania Guerra. The company “is in charge of receiving the salary for Cuban specialists.”

Gynecologist Andrea Peña said that last May, the “extinction” of Insabi materialized, but the agreement was to “transfer human resources, the budget of more than 100 billion pesos, the material and with it both the rights and obligations to Imss-Bienestar,” a decentralized body, to guarantee free health services and medicines, but “there was never talk of a cut.”

“Neither the Insabi nor the Imss-Bienestar has transferred the resources to the State for the people who worked under the federal E023 scheme with various profiles of health services,” the Ministry of Health of Guanajuato reported.

Peña said that three officials of the Ministry of Health appeared before those affected arguing that “there are no resources to pay their salaries”   

Peña said that three officials of the Ministry of Health presented themselves to those affected arguing that “there are no resources to pay their salaries,” and the only option would be for them to fill vacancies in other states. “They want to force them to leave their homes and families,” says the health worker.

The dismissals of between 200 and 300 doctors and nurses per state were also recorded in Coahuila, Yucatan, Durango, Guanajuato, Aguascalientes, Chihuahua, Jalisco and Querétaro.

In the face of the protests, the López Obrador Administration pointed out that the affected states decided “not to participate in the ’basification’ process” (moving the doctors to other areas), and because they didn’t join the Imss-Bienestar program, “federal support was withdrawn.” He added that the doctors were notified beforehand.

The Government of Mexico offered to “hire during the second quarter of the year all the workers who are in this situation.” However, Peña says that there is no signed commitment, and “meanwhile, what they are going to live on? There is no guarantee that they will be reinstalled in their positions.”

Translated by Regina Anavy


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