More Cuban Doctors in Venezuela

Daisy Valera

Cuba’s leading trade and exchange partner is Venezuela.
Cuba’s leading trade and exchange partner is Venezuela.

A couple weeks ago, a news item appeared in the press that may have been of interest to a considerable number of Cubans.

The headline in the October 9 edition of the Granma newspaper announced, “Chavez Receives New Advance Team of Cuban Doctors.”

The news refers to the tremendous impact that Cuban physicians will make on the “Barrio Adentro” project, an effort charged with providing health care to numerous Venezuelan communities while also training doctors within them.

I must acknowledge that the fact of sending Cuban doctors to another country can be considered a noble act of solidarity, and that most Cubans whom I’ve spoken with say the same thing.

However, I can’t overlook the other comments associated with the news report.

Many people are beginning to consider this act of solidarity excessive.

They complain that the quality of public health in Cuba has declined considerably, and that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find a doctor to adequately attend to their needs.

They grumble that the family medical clinics no longer function as before, citing that cases are now referred to offices served by a single doctor, where previously these were staffed by four.

The complaints have reached the point that some people protest the fact that Latin American medical students are treating them; their argument is that if Cuba is training foreign doctors, physicians here shouldn’t have to leave.

Perhaps the sharpest criticism is that some people believe they’ve been treated by doctors who do not know how to diagnose or treat the illness that forced the sufferer the hospital.

So if all these complaints are being made, why are there no answers or even explanations?

I don’t think it was a coincidence that the news report about Cuba sending physicians to Venezuela failed to mention something as basic as the number of doctors from the island that are currently there.

Unfortunately, many Cubans have found themselves complaining to deaf ears and receiving no answers from their representatives.

Many have decided to simply throw up their hands in resignation, feeling that this is how their society works and there’s no way to change it.

To move ahead and solve our problems, Cubans must break with all the pessimism that now bears down on our shoulders.  Such an attitude takes us away from becoming a socialist society – constantly in search of solutions, criticism, confidence and optimism.

Daisy Valera

Daisy Valera:Soil scientist and blogger. I write from Mexico City, where Havana sometimes becomes so small that it disappears. However in others, the Cuban capital is a city so past and present that it steals your breath.



11 thoughts on “More Cuban Doctors in Venezuela

  • Hi Daisy,

    The main reason Cuban doctors are sent to Venezuela is because your country can’t afford to purchase oil. So Venezuela provides its oil to Cuba in exchange for your doctors. It’s a commercial arrangement.

    Reply
  • “Noble act of solidarity?” Daisy says.

    Daisy is so patronizing. Cuba is being paid by Venezuela in cash and in kind for the medical services it renders to Venezuela. Much of the cash and other compensation from the Venezuelans is used to improve the Cuban health care system in Cuba, especially in the area of supplies and equipment.

    Why isn’t it just as noble an act for Venezuelans to pay to pay to Cuban services?

    “They complain” or “they grumble” or “some people protest ” or “the sharpest criticism” is the nobility is “excessive.” Why don’t these alleged whiners find something for which they are not fully compensated to be noble and patronizing about?

    Venezuelan compensation for Cuban medical services is a good part of Cuba’s export income. Why don’t “they” … if “they” exist … whine and snivel and grumble about the billions that flow into Cuba from these services.

    Why is it that “they” and Daisy don’t want Cuba to get all of this money from…

    Reply
  • As with their other professional, Cuba sends out doctors, tech, sports trainers to foreign countries for money. I went and visited one of these professionals in Mexico a few months ago; they get paid very little for their services – it all goes to Cuba.

    “A noble act of solidarity” – no I don’t think so!

    P.S. That professional in Mexico – he defected.

    Reply
  • Let’s be honest for a change and state that this a quid pro quo situation. Cuba supplies the Venezuelans with qualified doctors and Venezuela gives Cuba oil that it sorely needs for its industry, so its a fair trade.

    It is all very well to criticize the government of Raul Castro with regard to the scarcity of doctors in Cuba and blame it on Venezuela, but can those who complain not see the further hardships if the Venezuelan oil was cut-off from Cuba? In the present situation Cuba has no real choice, but to aid Venezuela and receive recompense in oil. Surely Cubans must understand the predicament that they are now in? Just be thankful that the problem was not any worse and thank God.

    Reply
  • The ‘cuban doctors’ thing in another countries is both a ‘commercial deal’ and a ‘noble act of solidarity’. Even though these doctors are ‘exchanged’ for Venezuelan oil, they are employed in the most miserable areas, where many people hadn’t ever had any kind of medical treatment in their lives.

    I say it’s way better to export doctors than weapons, for a change.

    Reply
  • Did you guys stop to think about the doctors who’s labor is trade as if they are a property of the Cuban government? Each of them should have the right to negotiate prices on their own terms and not the Cuban government getting the money. Otherwise this amounts to SLAVERY.

    Reply
  • Cuban doctors is the best ! I knew it . and thanks to Cuban doctors for help us in Klaten, Indonesia ! Muchas Gracias ! we love you all

    Reply
  • That sounds like such an informed and educated comment, but if you only knew the conditions that these people are living in then you would understand. Cuba is indeed performing a commercial arrangement, but if it would truthfully benefit the cuban citizens then there would be no problem. HOWEVER, Cuba’s government does not act on behalf of their people. this is all a ploy to make them richer and to finally try to prove their point that Socialism works, WHICH IT DOES NOT.

    Cuban citizens will never EVER reap the benefits of any of its governments “commercial arrangements”. On the contrary they will suffer the consequences as they have for many many many years.

    So I ask you this, how would you feel if you lived in cuba on a salary of about $25 dollars per month, AS A DOCTOR, and then were told “guess what, we’re shipping you to another country, away from your family, and you have no say in the matter”. I bet you’d feel differently.

    I can only hope this will be over…

    Reply
  • Nice to meet you comrade Daisy.
    Long live Venezuela Cuba alliance against Imperialism.

    with comradely greetings
    ~ Km Hulaki
    Kathmandu NEPAL .

    Reply
  • The Cuban and Venezuelan peoples must unite to defeat the oppressive exterior forces that want to undo the revolution. The is a revolution by the common people against tyranny.

    Reply
    • The people of Cuba suffer sufficient oppression from the Castro family regime. The sad fact about the revolution is that all it succeeded in doing was to replace one dictatorship with another and dictatorships are evil!

      Reply

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