Denying people medical care as a way of crushing Cuba

Since 1963 Cuba has been exporting its doctors to third world nations around the world.
There are currently over 50,000 Cuban doctors working in 67 countries. Cuba takes health care seriously. These are high quality doctors. Life expectancy in Cuba is higher than in the U.S. despite our embargo.

In the Cold War years, Cuba began using its doctors as a diplomatic tool to overcome political isolation...
Sending doctors abroad for humanitarian purposes is also great PR for the country. Cuban medics won praise in international media for their efficacy and commitment after Haiti’s 2010 earthquake and during West Africa’s 2014 Ebola crisis...
Today, it’s not all about altruism.

Cuba leases these doctors to other countries that are desperately short of medical professionals, and keeps roughly 2/3rd of their salary. That translates into roughly $11 Billion a year of revenue, second only to tourism. The doctors still manage to make far more for their families than they would in Cuba.
So how do you think the American government frames it?

Cuba’s international medical missions are a form of human trafficking and modern slavery, U.S. State Department officials told a news conference in New York...
The U.S. government also is publicizing its criticisms of the Cuban medical missions so that host countries “can’t say they weren’t aware that this was human trafficking,” she said.

Nations where the Cuban medical missions are working need to end the practice, said Carlos Trujillo, U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States.

“Across the Americas, there are multiple countries that continue to have these programs,” he said.
“What we’re really asking here is for a lot of the countries ... who are continuing to traffick and conduct these type of activities with Cuban doctors in their countries to please stop.”

Right. Because we care about these doctors.
But Washington is serious about ending this program, and this week the government took the next step.

The White House has banned government agencies from funding educational and cultural exchanges with Cuban, Syrian, Russian and North Korean government entities and officials as part of Trump administration efforts to halt people trafficking in those countries, according to a memorandum sent to the State Department.

In response, our lapdog government in Ecuador suspended the hiring of about 400 Cuban doctors. The program between Ecuador and Cuba dates from 2013, when leftist president Rafael Correa expanded social services to rural areas.

So what happens when a nation stops its program with Cuba? Look no further than Brazil.

During his campaign for the presidency, Mr. Bolsonaro, a right-wing populist, committed to making major changes to the Mais Médicos program, an initiative begun in 2013 when a leftist government was in power. The program sent doctors into Brazil’s small towns, indigenous villages and violent, low-income urban neighborhoods.

About half of the Mais Médicos doctors were from Cuba, and they were deployed to 34 remote indigenous villages and the poorer quarters of more than 4,000 towns and cities, places that established Brazilian physicians largely shun.

“The willingness of Cuban doctors to work in difficult conditions became a cornerstone of the public health system,” said Ms. Bahia, the professor.
...
Two weeks after Mr. Bolsonaro won the presidency in October, Cuba ordered all its doctors out.
...
In the first four years of Mais Médicos, the percentage of Brazilians receiving primary care rose to 70 percent from 59.6 percent, according to a report by the Pan-American Health Organization, which coordinated Cuba’s participation in the program.

The withdrawal of Cuban doctors could reverse that trend, with the consequences especially severe for those under 5, potentially leading to the deaths of up to 37,000 young children by 2030, warned Dr. Gabriel Vivas, an official with the Pan-American Health Organization.

In February, it looked as if Mr. Bolsonaro would fulfill his promise: the national Health Ministry announced that all of the positions left vacant by Cuba’s withdrawal had been filled with Brazilian doctors. But by April, thousands of the new recruits had either quit or failed to show up for work in the first place.

The lives of 37,000 children is a small price to pay to make sure that doctors get private sector wages.
2,000 of the over 8,000 Cuban doctors chose to remain in Brazil, which is curious for slaves, amirite?
But Brazil never got around to getting them certified, so they are now just 2,000 more unemployed people in Brazil. It's almost as if Bolsonaro didn't care about health care for its people.

In April, Dr. Sánchez gave up and moved to São Paulo, where he scrapes together money by selling homemade sweets and working as a baggage handler at an airport.

“Now he doesn’t talk about us at all, just silence,” Dr. Sánchez said.
...
The health secretary of Embu-Guaçu, Dr. Maria Dalva, said she was frustrated that 63 percent of the city had voted for Mr. Bolsonaro, despite his overt antipathy for Mais Médicos.

“The child mortality rate here dropped to 7 percent from 17 percent in five years thanks to Mais Médicos,” said Dr. Dalva. “I told people to think about that before they voted.”

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Do you want healthcare like Cuba?
I always say YES!!!

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22 users have voted.

Sanders-Gabbard 2020 !

snoopydawg's picture

And how disgusting is it that no lives matter to those who hold power over them? Just one more clink in the population control efforts by the PTB. Not true? Look at what is happening with drug prices, insurance costs and everything else that is bringing down life expectancy across the globe.

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20 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

Raggedy Ann's picture

@snoopydawg
snoopy. It is the direction we are taking. This is why there is such resistance to M4A. Pleasantry

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10 users have voted.

“The trouble [with injustice] is that once you see it, you can’t unsee it. And once you’ve seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There is no innocence. Either way, you’re accountable.”
-- Arundhati Roy

@snoopydawg that you're right on population control. Our psychotic owners need to kill off all the useless eaters so they'll survive the climate disaster they have made in order to make all their money, and now they're simply showing us what that plan is. Sure, that sounds paranoid to many Americans but really, of course it does in a country that still believes it is exporting freedom and democracy when all outward signs show that for the blatant lie that it is. Idiot America.

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4 users have voted.

and modern slavery? How's this: Offer impoverished young men and women a free college education if they join the National Guard (mission: defend their home state and the nation against uprising and invasion), and then traffick them to Afghanistan (mission: kill or be killed), leaving behind their jobs, their children, everything that constitutes This American Life -- and if they decline, put them in prison.

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25 users have voted.

The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

Pricknick's picture

@UntimelyRippd
one of the most concise, short and accurate replies I've read in a long time.
Well done!
Big thanks to you also gjohn.

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17 users have voted.

Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

@UntimelyRippd @UntimelyRippd
State militias (i.e. National Guard) can only be Federalized in case of invasion or insurrection. When Eisenhower federalized the Alabama National guard in response to Wallace standing in the school house door, that defiance of a federal court order could be considered insurrection. What was Obama's excuse?

Looks like there was more reason to impeach Obama (and Biden for using his official position to stop investigation of his son) than for impeaching Trump for trying to investigate Biden's crime.

EDIT:
Whoops, That was JFK, Not Eisenhower. Did Eisenhower do it in Kansas?

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12 users have voted.

Sanders-Gabbard 2020 !

then it would work here, and we simply cannot have that because $. We do not need Cuba's example in those countries getting in the way of $ to their governments/oligarchs from US taxpayers, do we?
This is getting easier by the day to figure out, and harder by the day to stomach.

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17 users have voted.

@on the cusp
it occurred to me that Castro could massively troll US capitalism by inviting American insurance companies to send their policy-holders down to Havana for dimes-on-the-dollar treatments and a relaxing beach holiday. How long would the embargo have lasted under that kind of profit motive pressure?

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18 users have voted.

The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

thanatokephaloides's picture

Cuba leases these doctors to other countries that are desperately short of medical professionals, and keeps roughly 2/3rd of their salary. That translates into roughly $11 Billion a year of revenue, second only to tourism. The doctors still manage to make far more for their families than they would in Cuba.

Don't forget that the Cuban doctors were trained entirely without money costs to themselves. And it's my understanding that the actual lease arrangement has it that Cuba keeps more if the doctor makes more, so the doctor's share still amounts to a better life for the doctor and his family.

Compare that to the American way, where our banksters keep a large slice of a new doctor's income with no adjustment for the new doctor's money income, essentially forcing that doctor to work for the highest cash bidder until hir education is finally paid off. (Usually, that means the military.)

Now which one is the slave traffic, did you say?

Diablo

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18 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

@thanatokephaloides
do, where they pay your med school expenses but then you have to go practice in an under-served area for some number of years. (Which, you may recall, was the central conceit of Northern Exposure.)

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11 users have voted.

The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

thanatokephaloides's picture

@UntimelyRippd

It's a lot more comparable to the deals that states do, where they pay your med school expenses but then you have to go practice in an under-served area for some number of years. (Which, you may recall, was the central conceit of Northern Exposure.)

Actually, arrangements like this are superior to either of the others we've been discussing, because these arrangements, along with their obligation, end, with a fully qualified doctor free to choose what she wants to do. I'm unsure if Cuba offers that, and I'm certain the banksters don't.

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1 user has voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

lotlizard's picture

Adopt Silicon Valley and Wall Street’s boilerplate legal fiction whereby each doctor is an independent contractor who is just using cUber’s servers to find gigs. /s

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15 users have voted.

because in the end, in a socialist country or a capitalist country the doctors, nurses, lab techs do medicine, either way. In the US the question is always, who is going to pay? The real meaning of that question is totally capitalist, "what's in it for us?" Will it reduce or increase profit?

The US worships "fundamentalist" capitalism like a religion. Cookie cutter capitalism keeps medicine, and us, paying endless tribute to the middlemen. It operates more like the NRA than a health care system.

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11 users have voted.

@Snode getting in on the action, using medical records to screen people and then "recommend" treatment based on that screening. Any bets what happens with your insurance once you opt out of that "recommended" treatment whether you can pay for it or not or even see it as necessary? If you try for a second opinion I imagine that could be done, if you're willing to pay for it completely out of pocket that is. And then when you do happen to get sick it'll be sorry, you did not take our recommendation so go to hell and die already.

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5 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@lizzyh7

There is no logical reason for Google to have access to people's medical records unless they plan to do something very nefarious with them. They say they need them for AI stuff? Why? Unless our AIs won't come with the first rule of do no harm to humans. Or maybe it's information they need to use on their soylent green list?

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3 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

@snoopydawg
will have to those records. I do know that lots of folks, including people right near to where I am, are working on various AI approaches to gleaning useful patterns from "EHRs" (Electronic Health Records). I also know that access is very, very tightly controlled -- generally, they are required to undergo an extensive vetting process, and even that only gives them the opportunity to work with a more-fully-vetted intermediary on the inside who will submit their queries to the databases, returning results that cannot be traced back to any individual.

up
2 users have voted.

The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.