Cuban doctors in Brazil

So acute is the shortage of doctors in remote parts of Brazil, the centre-left government of President Dilma Rousseff has seized on the issue to shore up her popularity ….

By March next year [2014] there will be 6,600 doctors working in thousands of municipalities, the majority of them Cuban. The policy is one of the few concrete responses of Ms Rousseff’s centre-left government to mass protests that shook Brazil in June as demonstrators attacked a perceived failure of the political classes to provide quality transport, health and education. ….

Brazil’s National Doctors Federation (Fenam) … [alleges the government] is allowing foreign professionals to enter Brazil without sitting the country’s stringent medical exams.

Fenam also argues that Cubans are slave labour, claiming they only receive about 10 per cent of the R$10,000 ($4,250) monthly salary they are paid under the programme, with the remainder going to the government in Havana. ….

“This is the biggest labour fraud we have ever seen in Brazil,” says Geraldo Ferreira, Fenam president . …. “The problem in these small cities is that they don’t have hospitals,” he says.

Joe Leahy, “Cuban doctors fill the gap in Brazilian interior“, Financial Times, 28 December 2013.

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