08/22/13 - GlobalPost - Brazil defends plan to import physicians from Cuba
Brasilia, Aug 22 (EFE).- Brazil's foreign minister on Thursday denied that
the government's plan to hire 4,000 Cuban doctors to work in isolated areas
has any "ideological aspect."
The decision "was taken to improve public services and has no ideological
motivation of any kind," Antonio Patriota told a congressional committee.
The aim is to offer medical services in places where Brazilian
professionals do not want to go, he said.
"There are many Cuban doctors ready to do that type of work and perhaps not
many Austrian doctors, for example, who want to do it," Patriota said.
The Brazilian government on Wednesday announced that it will hire 4,000
Cuban physicians as part of a plan to improve public health approved after
massive protests in June.
The Health Ministry announced that the Cubans will be distributed among 701
cities in the northern and northeastern part of the country.
"The issue has to do with the lack of (medical) professionals in those
areas of Brazil. It's something that's internationally accepted and was
done within the framework of an agreement with the Pan American Health
Organization, which guarantees that it's a good practice," the foreign
Opposition lawmakers took advantage of the public hearing to say that the
hiring of the Cuban doctors was a type of payment for the Cuban
government's decision to allow Brazilian companies to take part in projects
like the renovation of the port of Mariel.
"No. There is no exchange of this kind and it never went through anybody's
head that it was to pay for access to investments. They are initiatives
that obey totally different logics," Patriota responded.
The National Federation of Physicians complained that the Cuban doctors
will work in Brazil under conditions similar to slavery and that the
agreement will only serve to help finance the Cuban government.
Brazil currently has 1.8 doctors per 1,000 residents, compared with 3.7 in
Uruguay and 3.2 in Argentina.
Copyright EFE, 2013.
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