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Cuban doctors in Mexico: labor exploitation or financing of a dictatorship?

After President Andrés Manuel López Obrador reported on the hiring of 500 Cuban doctors under the assumption that there is a lack of health personnel in Mexico, it has been pointed out that the foregoing could be a facade to finance the Cuban dictatorship.

Among the main questions is the monthly balance that Cuban doctors will receive compared to the average salary in Mexico, which is between 17,000 and 20,000 pesos per month; where will the resources come from; when will they arrive in the national territory and in what states will they work.

In his morning conference on Monday, May 16, the federal president assured that doctors from the Caribbean island will earn the same as fellow national doctors, but did not specify the amount they will receive. “So, how much are Cuban doctors going to earn? The same as Mexican doctors earn, ”he said.

Members of the opposition bloc and health professionals have severely criticized this hiring, as they point out that the foregoing reflects the privilege that the Mexican government gives to foreign doctors, while Mexicans are relegated, without taking into account their capacity and preparation. academic.

Given the questioning of the amount allocated by the Ministry of Finance for this contract, the chief executive indicated that they still did not have an answer. “We still don’t know,” AMLO replied, without detailing the date of arrival of said doctors or the states where they will work.

In a video posted on his social networks, Ricardo Anaya indicated that the pay would be 140,000 pesos per month for each doctor; however, the foregoing has not been confirmed by the López Obrador government.

However, it should be remembered that in 2020 the Health Institute for Well-being (Insabi) allocated 6.2 million dollars (about 135 million pesos) to the 585 Cuban doctors and nurses who were hired to care for patients with COVID-19 .

Said agreement was signed by the Institute of Health for Well-being, the Secretariat of Administration and Finance and the Secretariat of Health of the capital. The allocated resources included the salary of the medical staff, as well as training, specialization and joint research. As for lodging, it was subsidized through donations made by hoteliers from Mexico City.

According to the Diario de Cuba, an average of 10,700 dollars (around 214,000 pesos) was allocated for each doctor hired; however, of the total amount, close to 75% is kept by the Cuban regime. In this way, Cuban doctors and nurses only received 660 dollars for a period of three months (13,200 pesos), that is, they earned only 4,400 pesos per month.

As a result of this activity, the Cuban regime generated 6.4 billion dollars in 2018, according to the aforementioned media, a figure higher than that received by the tourism sector.

The foregoing has been designated as “trafficking in persons and modern slavery” under the scheme of “medical missions abroad”, since according to the European Parliament there are several factors that lead to this classification, such as extended shifts of more than 12 hours, as well as the lack of salary (which is withheld until their return to Cuba and of which they are only granted between 5% and 25% of what they should receive).

That is why some members of the opposition bloc, such as Ricardo Anaya, have pointed out that the hiring of Cuban doctors is only a front to finance the dictatorship of Miguel Díaz-Canel on the Caribbean island.

This position has been shared by PAN militant Julen Rementería, who presented an investigation in 2021 (known as “Cubagate”) in which he pointed out that there was no evidence to confirm that the 585 Cubans had a professional degree. As for the cost for each contracted doctor, the amount was 437 thousand 390 pesos for a period of three months.

Likewise, he indicated that the Mexican government, that of Claudia Sheinbaum and the Cuban regime had orchestrated a “fraud of 255 million 873 thousand 177 pesos to the health budget.” He detailed that on April 21, 2020, Insabi transferred 135 million 875 thousand 081 pesos to the Sheinbaum government through a “collaboration agreement” to address the health crisis derived from COVID-19.

Three days later, the capital government signed two biannual agreements with the Cuban regime: one for the same amount mentioned above and another for 103,638,266 pesos. Despite sending a request for transparency to the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) about salaries, copies of professional titles, professional accreditation and the medical units to which they were sent, he received no response.

This is how it has been pointed out that Cuba’s medical missions abroad could be a scheme to divert public resources and thus finance the Díaz-Canel dictatorship.

According to the NGO Prisoners Defenders, Cuba’s agreements in the health sector with other countries illustrate various human rights violations. In an investigation in which 894 testimonies were obtained from Cuban doctors, it is pointed out that the workers receive between 9% and 25% of what the host country pays for their work.

“Cuba always negotiates lucrative contracts for the workers it exploits,” reads the investigation, which also indicates that the Cuban regime pays an average of 525 “liquid” dollars to Cuban professionals on mission, while Cuba charges close to $3,500 for each of them.

Likewise, of the total number of testimonies, 44 thousand 589 complaints of human rights violations related to forced labor, servitude, slavery, thought, opinion, family unity and labor rights were included.

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José Martí
José Martí
Nacionalista cubano, poeta, filósofo, ensayista, periodista, traductor, profesor y editor.

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