Of the 702 Cubans on the Medical Mission in Bolivia, Only 205 Were Qualified Healthcare Providers

The Bolivian Government is auditing the Cuban medical mission to more accurately understand its expenses and operation. (Minrex)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 29 November 2019 — Only 205 of 702 Cuban doctors who were deployed in Bolivia were qualified healthcare providers, as revealed on Thursday by Aníbal Cruz, Bolivia’s Minister of Health. Bolivia’s provisional Government under Jeanine Áñez has reviewed the documents of these professionals and concludes that the majority, in fact, were technicians or drivers, with doctors representing a small number. However, everyone was charged for as medical professionals.

As of October 2019, the Bolivian Government had spent about 7.7 million dollars on the Cuban mission according to the available data, although the Health authorities have commissioned an audit to fully understand its operations and the economic expenditure it represented for the Bolivian State. The study will also cover the Health Services Department.

“This year approximately 78,764,889 Bolivian pesos ($ 11,390,426) have been used and 53,121,000 Bolivian pesos ($ 7,681,987) have been paid for this personnel,” Cruz denounced in an interview in Unitel.

“Instead of economic aid to the country it was a damage, but it benefited Cuba economically.”

The diplomatic mission of Cuba refused to respond to the Bolivian press when it tried to gather reactions to these statements from the minister.

The Cuban health minister, José Ángel Portal Miranda, described the Bolivian authorities as “coup plotters” and said they were lying in relation to the medical degrees. “The Cuban cooperators worked there in 35 integral community hospitals, 119 medical offices and 5 ophthalmological centers. Of these, 406 are doctors and 258 graduates in nursing, imaging and electromedicine,” Portal wrote on Twitter.

For each professional, the Government of Havana received $1,032 through the heads of mission, who received it, in turn, from the Government of Bolivia. As usual, the Cuban authorities retained at least 70% of the salary paid for each professional, and in some cases more.

In Bolivia there were 725 Cuban personnel, according to data from both governments, who had to leave the country after Evo Morales left and once the agreements were broken.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez and his counterpart Karen Longaric agreed to the “timely and necessary” departure, in the words of the Bolivian, to maintain respectful relations between the two nations.

The new Executive has declared her suspicions that part of the Cubans assigned to medical mission were personnel of the security apparatus of the Plaza of the Revolution. The Foreign Minister also referred to the then relationship with Venezuela.

“We are going to take action, but everything is aimed at withdrawing the officials we have in Venezuela and reconstituting Bolivia’s relations with that country, but in a framework of democracy and fundamental respect for the principles of international law and fundamentally for the respect of human rights,” she added.

On Saturday, November 16, a group of 226 Cuban doctors returned to the Island, thus beginning the return of the whole delegation, which is already complete.

The Island’s health professionals had been in the Andean country since February 2006, serving under the agreements signed between the Morales government and Havana. The doctors served, as usual, in rural areas where the local mayors’ offices provide food and housing.

Some Cubans abandoned the ‘missions’ and denounced the miserable salary received, the forfeiture of their passports and documentation, the falsification of statistics and use of their families in Cuba to tie them to the contract.


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.