Political Asylum Ruled Out for Cuban Doctors in Brazil

Cuban doctors. Photo: cubadiplomatica.cu
Cuban doctors. Photo: cubadiplomatica.cu

HAVANA TIMES — The Cuban doctors who work in Brazil as part of the agreement signed by the Brazilian government with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and try to stay in the country when the contract expires will not be granted political asylum, warned attorney general Luís Inácio Adams.

In statements published by “Folha de Sao Paulo” newspaper on Friday, Adams said the Cubans would not have a right to that claim and would “probably would be returned (to Cuba),” reported dpa news.

Also see: First 206 Cuban MDs Arrive in Brazil

Adams said the possibility that there is a defection attempt by Cuban doctors is “remote” and believes that if any did, it’s very unlikely the Ministry of Justice would grant them the right to stay in Brazil.

“When it comes to asylum, all treaties consider threats based on political, religious or other grounds. It is in these conditions that you look at refugee situations. I don’t believe this case falls into this category,” he said.

“These doctors are coming as professionals, come with a commitment, an agreement, a program, with a working relationship. I do not think there are grounds for them to stay,” he added.

The “import” of about 4,000 Cuban doctors unleashed a barrage of criticism in Brazil, where the Labor Department announced it will challenge the government’s agreement with PAHO because, according to prosecutor Jose Ramos Pereira, the recruitment of the doctors, through the transfer of payment of their wages to the Cuban government is “totally illegal” and violates labor laws and the Brazilian Constitution.

“The employment relationship must be made directly between employer and employee. The government (Brazilian) will be the employer at the time of the hiring and define the place of work of these doctors, but when it comes to paying their salaries, they do it by way of the Cuban government or by agreements, “he argued.

“The Labor Department will have to interfere, investigate and call on the government to negotiate,” said Ramos Pereira.

In the same vein, the president of the National Federation of Physicians (Fenam), Geraldo Ferreira, said Brazil will pay the Cuban government 10,000 reals (US $ 4,081 monthly) for the work of individual physicians, but that the authorities in Havana will define how much is actually paid to the doctors.

The Brazilian government, in turn, rejected the criticism noting that the Cuban doctors, which begin arriving this weekend, “come voluntarily.”

“It’s not slavery. They will receive the wages they already receive in Cuba, or what the Cuban Health Ministry pays for foreign missions,” said Secretary of Health Surveillance, Ministry of Health, Jarbas Barbosa.

Brazilian Health Minister, Alexandre Padilha, announced that over the weekend the first 400 Cuban doctors will arrive in Brazil to work in cities whose needs have not been addressed in the first phase of the government program “More Doctors” designed to bridge the shortfall in public health care in more than 700 municipalities across the country.

4 thoughts on “Political Asylum Ruled Out for Cuban Doctors in Brazil

  • please can i know name of those doctors in picture??????

  • that’s such an ignorant comment

  • @ Ricky, there were likely be medicines available in Brazil, that are not available in Cuba, due to the embargo.

  • Are they going to treat advanced diseases with herbs like they do in Cuba?

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