THE “GREAT” CUBAN DOCTOR SUPPLY

It’s not common, by any stretch.  But sometimes The New York Times does provide the other side of the story.

This time it is about the reality of Cuba supplying other countries with doctors – which has been hailed by the left as proof of its superior health care system, and compassion for humanity.

Excerpted from Ernesto Londoño’s article on page one of today’s paper (but please, please, use the link and read it all:

RIO DE JANEIRO — In a rare act of collective defiance, scores of Cuban doctors working overseas to make money for their families and their country are suing to break ranks with the Cuban government, demanding to be released from what one judge called a “form of slave labor.”

Thousands of Cuban doctors work abroad under contracts with the Cuban authorities. Countries like Brazil pay the island’s Communist government millions of dollars every month to provide the medical services, effectively making the doctors Cuba’s most valuable export.

But the doctors get a small cut of that money, and a growing number of them in Brazil have begun to rebel. In the last year, at least 150 Cuban doctors have filed lawsuits in Brazilian courts to challenge the arrangement, demanding to be treated as independent contractors who earn full salaries, not agents of the Cuban state.

“When you leave Cuba for the first time, you discover many things that you had been blind to,” said Yaili Jiménez Gutierrez, one of the doctors who filed suit. “There comes a time when you get tired of being a slave.” 

The doctors’ defiance puts them at risk of serious repercussions by the Cuban government, including being barred from the island and their families for years.  

Dr. Álvarez said that the stipend offered by the Cuban government to work for a few years in Brazil seemed appealing to her and her husband, Arnulfo Castanet Batista, also a doctor, when they signed up in 2013. 

It meant leaving behind their two children in the care of relatives, but each of them would earn 2,900 Brazilian reais a month — then worth about $1,400, and now worth $908 — an amount that seemed enormous compared with the roughly $30 a month Cuban doctors earned at home.

“It was a pretty acceptable offer compared to what we made in Cuba,” Dr. Álvarez said.

That, folks, is the vaunted Cuban medical system.

Cuba trains doctors – not well at all, as the Michael Moores of the world would never tell you, ships the poorly trained doctors to other countries for big bucks, and, while the doctors make next to nothing, reaps the profits they generate, to make Raul Castro even richer than his estimated $100 million stash.

Ask any doctor you know what he/she thinks about $908 a month for working pretty much every day under terrible conditions.  Then ask him/her about the $30 a month Cuban doctors earn domestically – i.e. they are not shipped out of the country as cash cows.

Then think about how little coverage this reality gets in mainstream media.

My compliments and appreciation, to the New York Times for publishing this article at all, and for putting it on page one.

Let’s hope this jogs the conscience of other media venues to do the same.

But don’t bet on it.

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