Cuba to Let Doctors Return to Practice on the Island

Cuban doctors stuck in Colombia.  Photo: elmundo.es

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.


3 thoughts on “Cuba to Let Doctors Return to Practice on the Island

  • Not only Cuba, but many Third World countries ( e.g. Guyana) have problems with medical doctors immigrating to the First World. Often, their governments subsidize the education of these folks, only to see their investment go down the toilet when such doctors leave for more lucrative practices in the U.S. or Western Europe. Of course in Africa, it is a catastrophe, with the public health systems in such countries in free fall or non-existent. Such a short-sighted policy of luring Third World doctors to the First World has its consequences, however, in that due to rapid changes in the environment new and virulent diseases are emerging and, in this new “global village” such diseases can–and do–spread rapidly to the First World with dire consequences. Since he operates on the principle of Fear and Loathing, perhaps Trump will ban all travel from Asia, Africa and Latin America in order to prevent the spread of the next ebola or A.I.D.S., but such a policy would have consequences with global trade, including exports as well as imports!

  • Well said. I do wonder how many are willing to take up an offer of $60 a month. If stuck in a miserable place like Venezuela comming home makes sense, but in most places the earnings far out strip anything possible on the Island. Ultimately, these professional deserve to earn a fair wage.

  • Cuba needs it’s doctors. The medical services revenues that the Castros receive is the single highest hard currency income, outpacing foreign tourism revenues. Yet another example where Cuba’s economic reality “trumps” the Castros hatred of fellow Cubans who have chosen to leave Cuba. “Gusano” or not, Cuban doctors who gave Fidel and his revolution the middle finger are welcome to return. Cha-ching!!

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