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Cuban doctors to Brazil hinterland in exchange for infrastructure works

Tuesday, May 7th 2013 - 08:54 UTC
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Patriota with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez Patriota with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez

Brazil said Monday it was negotiating with Havana the possibility of hiring and bringing in around 6,000 Cuban doctors to work in areas where they are needed in the fifth largest country of the world and with a population of 200 million.

“Brazil is looking into the possibility of taking in a number of Cuban doctors“ through talks that involve the Pan-American Health Organization, Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota said after meeting with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez.

He said the estimated 6,000 Cuban health professionals would be deployed in areas where there is a shortage of medical facilities.

Income from Cuban medical staff working overseas, particularly in Venezuela, is a key source of hard currency for the Americas' only Communist-ruled nation.

Brazil which is the world's seventh largest economy and is enjoying virtually full employment despite sluggish economic growth has been facing a shortage of skilled labor, particularly engineers and doctors.

The Cuban chief diplomat's visit here coincides with one by Brazilian Trade and Industry Minister Fernando Pimentel to Cuba.

Brazil is Cuba's sixth trading partner and first food supplier. It is also the second recipient of Cuban medicines and vaccines, according to Havana.

Bilateral trade reached a record 662 million dollars last year, up 6% over the previous year.

Brazilian investments in Cuba also are also up, with Brasilia providing two thirds of the financing for construction of the huge Mariel port and industrial project located 50 kilometers from Havana.

”The readjustment of the Cuban economy represents an opportunity for cooperation, for economic exchanges and for the Brazilian private sector,“ said Rodriguez.

”Brazil is committed to the modernization of infrastructure in Cuba,” said Patriota, who also pointed to Brazilian financing for the modernization of Cuban airports.

Top Comments

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  • British_Kirchnerist

    An excellent policy. Following in the footsteps of Chavez =)

    May 07th, 2013 - 11:42 am 0
  • ElaineB

    About 50,000 Cuban doctors are working in Venezuela. They work in some of the worst deprived areas and give much needed health care to the considerable numbers of poor and destitute in Venezuela. And it gives Cuba a hold over Venezuela when discussing free oil.

    On the other hand, if Venezuela stopped giving away the oil they could pay to train their own doctors and pull some of those people out of poverty Just an idea.

    May 07th, 2013 - 01:23 pm 0
  • Troy Tempest

    Cuba has a crumbling infrastructure and also a crumbling ideology.

    With few resources, a small land area and a large population, they have to be innovative.

    Joint projects between Cuba and outside investors, Canada and China, brought them up from producing 15% of their own energy supplies when the Soviets left, to 50% today. The rest I assume is from Venezuela, and that may be in jeopardy now.
    Italy and Spain have been instrumental with money and expertise, to create a huge tourist industry catering to Canadians and Europeans.
    With the collapse of Communism, however, the well-educated, and better- compensated, Professional Class of Engineers, Doctors, etc., now earn far less than the Bartender at the Iberostar Veradero.

    Doctors and Medical expertise are an export Cuba has, with real value, both as a humanitarian value, and a revenue/trade generating commodity.

    Let's hope that today, they are no longer exporting their ideology with it.

    The time I have spent with the Cuban people, I have greatly enjoyed.

    I hope the US can normalise relations with Cuba, perhaps that will have to wait until the Castros are gone.

    I once had an opportunity to speak with Cuban university lecturer for a few hours.
    He came across as a proud, but not rabid, patriot. He was certainly not a Nationalist.

    Some of the older people are very pro-Castro, pro-government, but are also pleased with the outside investment coming in.

    Many of the younger people just want 'real' jobs outside of Cuba. They want to join the rest of the world, cellphones abound now, whereas they were almost unheard of in 2005.
    Computers are very restricted, private email accounts illegal, but many many 'small businessmen' have one, and give them out freely to tourists.

    Good luck to the Cuban people.

    May 07th, 2013 - 03:04 pm 0
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