HAVANA TIMES – The Cuban government said today that health professionals who abandoned official missions abroad can return to the island and rejoin their jobs in the National Health System, reported dpa news.
The Cuban authorities said that the possibility of a return to the island has been in force since 2014 but noted that there is now a different situation since the elimination last month of the United States Parole Program for doctors which encouraged the “desertion” of Cuban health professionals working abroad on government missions.
“In this new scenario, the Ministry of Public Health reiterates the willingness to allow professionals from the sector who abandoned their collaboration missions to return to Cuba and reintegrate into the national health system,” said an official note published in the newspaper “Granma “.
In Cuba, the doctors can earn between the equivalent of 40 and 60 USD per month depending on their level of specialization.
The US Parole Program was created in 2006 by President George W. Bush and benefitted Cuban medical personnel and, according to the Cuban government, was aimed at “encouraging the desertion of our doctors in missions abroad.”
The repeal of the Parole Program and the “dry feet / wet feet” policy, which allowed illegal entry of Cubans who touched US territory, were among the main demands of the Cuban authorities.
Obama removed both measures on January 12, just a week before ending his term in office, and current President Donald Trump said he shared the move as a way to curb illegal immigration to the United States.
Cuban doctors who left the missions usually did so in countries of the region such as Venezuela, Ecuador or Brazil, although there are no official data on the number of “defections”.
Currently, Cuba has 50,000 health professionals in more than 60 countries. The commercialization of medical services is the government’s main source of income, bringing in around 8 billion dollars annually.