14ymedio, Havana, 24 March 2019 — Cuban opposition leader Rosa Maria Payá met Friday with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in Santiago de Chile. The promoter of the initiative Cuba Decides asked the president for “support for the Cuban community in Brazil,” which is facing a difficult time after the end of the Mais Médicos (More Doctors) mission.
Also attending the meeting were the Brazilian Foreign Minister, Ernesto Fraga Araújo, who participated with Bolsonaro in the official launch of the Forum for the Progress of South America (Prosur), a regional body that seeks to replace the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), currently in crisis after the departure of several governments.
On Twitter, Payá described the meeting with Bolsonaro and his foreign minister as an “intense meeting,” especially in relation to “the specific actions that Brazil and PROSUR can take in support of the Cuban people in their struggle for democracy.”
– Rosa María Payá A. (@RosaMariaPaya) March 23, 2019
“We talked about the conditions of semi-slavery of health professionals sent abroad by the regime, I appreciated his actions to end the abuse of Cuban doctors and requested support for the Cuban community in Brazil,” Payá added.
Last November, Bolsonaro, then president-elect, said that the Cuban physicians who worked for Mais Médicos were “slaves” of a “dictatorship,” words that triggered a rapid response from the Government of Cuba which began to withdraw the more than 8,000 health professionals it had working in the South American country. Some 2,500 doctors decided not to return to the island and accepted an asylum proposal from Bolsonaro.
I held a conversation with the Cuban Rosa Payá @RosaMariaPaya. She tells truths that I have never seen anywhere about the new Cuban constitution and the lifestyle of the people living in the Castro dictatorship. Socialism kills! [Video here of RMP speaking with Eduardo Bolsonaro, Federal Deputy and son of Jair Bolsonaro]
– Eduardo Bolsonaro (@BolsonaroSP) March 23, 2019
Since then, these health professionals have been in limbo with regards to employment and have repeatedly demanded that they be allowed to revalidate their credentials and have access to jobs.
Last February these doctors sent a letter to Senators Marco Rubio and Bob Menéndez asking for support to restore the Cuban Medical Professional Parole program, repealed by former President Barack Obama in 2017, which grants US visas to health professionals who leave Cuba’s international missions.
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