Two Health Workers Escape From the Cuban Mission in Andorra

The Cuban health workers in the entrance of the hotel in Andorra where they are being lodged. (Cancillería Cuba)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, June 25, 2020 — A doctor and nurse have abandoned the official Cuban mission in Andorra and left for Spain to request political asylum. According to the Diari d’Andorra, those in charge of the brigade realized last Saturday that the two health workers had fled.

The group of 39 health workers from the Island arrived at the Principality on March 29 to help the Andorran Health Service by attending those ill with coronavirus. The Cubans had worked as specialists in internal medicine in the intensive care unit of El Cedre, a convalescent center for the elderly and disabled.

The delegation was supposed to finalize the work mandated by the Government of Andorra at the end of this month, after which, despite the decrease in patients hospitalized, their stay would be prolonged for a few weeks. The Minister of Health, Joan Martínez Benazet, justified the decision by alleging that the Cubans would cover different services to allow the local professionals some time off.

With an area smaller than Havana and a population of barely 80,000, Andorra is a tax haven that shares borders with Spain and France. The Principality, which also makes a living from winter sports, has been significantly affected by coronavirus so that even with such a small population, there are 855 positive cases, 52 deaths and 797 recoveries.

Havana has 29,000 health workers in 59 countries, including some 3,300 who participate in fighting COVID-19 in 29 of them.

When a Cuban health worker “deserts”, according to the official terminology, he risks being penalized by being required to wait eight years before he can again enter the Island. Also, the part of his salary in Cuban pesos that he accumulated on the Island is confiscated by the State, and his family doesn’t have access to these funds.

The official Cuban propaganda calls these health workers who decide not to return “deserters”, but several international organizations consider them victims of human trafficking.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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