The Cuban president visits Portugal amid criticism for the hiring of doctors from the island for Portuguese health | International
Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel took advantage of his trip to Europe to participate in the next summit between the European Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, which will be held in Brussels next Monday and Tuesday, to make the first visit of State of a Cuban president to Portugal. Invited by the Portuguese president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who visited the Caribbean island in 2016 with Raúl Castro still in power, Díaz-Canel arrived in Lisbon in full controversy over the plan to hire 300 Cuban doctors to reinforce the battered National System of Portuguese cheers.
The criticism began after the Newspaper reported a few days ago that the Portuguese Government had asked medical collegiate bodies to expedite the accreditation processes. Public health has a serious lack of physicians which, among other things, means that more than a million users do not have a family doctor. The intention of the Portuguese Government is to hire 300 Cuban professionals to work for three years. The controversy has to do above all with the control exercised by the Cuban regime over the toilets, from whom it retains a large part of the salary, although the intention of the Portuguese authorities is to formalize a different agreement that allows them to pay all the salaries to the doctors.
Cuba has intensified in recent years the export of doctors trained on the island, where health is one of the main achievements, in a process directed and controlled by the State. According to research in the magazine Time in 2018, there were then 50,000 Cuban doctors distributed throughout 67 countries, whose work reported more than 11,000 million dollars a year to the State. Only Brazil had 8,000 Cuban doctors, who left the country after criticism from the far-right president Jair Bolsonaro, who lashed out at Cuba for "withholding 70%" of the salaries of toilets.
In his speech at the Belén Palace, Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa defended the hiring of Caribbean doctors and recalled that it had happened in the past with both "left-wing and right-wing governments," according to the Lusa news agency. In an opinion piece on Publicthe analyst Pedro Norton pointed out that there is not "in this sordid exploitation of specialized migrants the slightest shadow of freedom", after recalling that the investigation of Time had revealed that the Cuban authorities forced pregnant health workers to return to Cuba to give birth.
There were no allusions to the controversy in the official speeches. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa expressed his desire to strengthen relations between Portugal and Cuba, in addition to reiterating the historic Portuguese rejection of the blockade suffered by the island by the United States. In the intervention before the press by Rebelo de Sousa and Díaz-Canel, no questions were allowed.
The visit of the Cuban president also aroused the rejection of the Liberal Initiative, fourth force in the Assembly of the Republic with eight deputies, which did not attend the official welcome ceremony. On Twitter, its leader, Rui Rocha, justified his absence like this: "What is going to happen today in the Assembly of the Republic is a welcome session for the leader of the Cuban communist dictatorship, followed by a photo with the leader of the dictatorship. Cuban communist. Just this". Days ago, Rocha also showed his rejection of hiring Cuban toilets. "The Portuguese government cannot participate in a situation of labor exploitation and violation of human rights," said the Liberal leader.
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