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Cuba to Increase Medical Help in Venezuela Despite Outcry of “Subhuman” Conditions

By: Karina Martín - Aug 30, 2017, 12:46 pm
Medical Missions to Venezuela
There are about 28,000 Cuban doctors in Venezuela, but that figure could reportedly grow due to an upcoming transfer that could be the biggest recorded between the two countries. (Twitter)

EspañolVenezuela’s economic and political crisis continues to wreck havoc on the population, but Cuba is planning to send an “army” of doctors to help out.

There are about 28,000 Cuban doctors in Venezuela, but that figure could reportedly grow due to an upcoming transfer that may be the largest the countries have ever coordinated.

Local media outlets are reporting that doctors could arrive to Venezuela from Cuba to participate in the Maduro regime’s “Bolivarian Sovereignty” military exercise program intended to prepare for US intervention in Venezuela.

Though Venezuela and Cuba have historically been close allies, not everyone on the island is happy about this potential new arrangement. One anonymous source told Martí Noticias that the Central Cuban Medical Cooperation Unit remains dedicated to its responsibility to “guarantee the fulfillment of the commitments made by the Cuban government in the field of international medical collaboration,” but that such a commitment has nothing to do with participation in military exercises.

The source said the plan is a “flagrant violation of the agreement of peace and medical cooperation intended to strengthen the historic bond of friendship between both peoples.”

Cuban doctors sent to Venezuela have already denounced “subhuman” treatment there, while others claim they have had to hunt iguanas to feed themselves, according to a report published last year by Martí Noticias.

The situation has only worsened since then, leading medical specialists to warn others about the “traumatic experiences” they may have if they go abroad. Not only have some returned to Cuba with internal organ damage due to severe hunger, among other things, but many suffer from psychological issues.

“Anxiety disorders, depression disorders and many family crises are common,” said one worker at the Arnoldo de la Cruz clinic in Santiago, Cuba. “There are others who have been on extended medical leave.”

Many Cubans who have completed their missions in Venezuela have condemned the critical situations there.

“That country is a disaster, and of course the Venezuelan people are not to blame,” said Celia Santana, a Cuban dentist who worked at a federal oil company in Venezuela.

Yerenia Cedeño, 28, who graduated as a general practitioner in 2012 and worked in the neighborhood of Petare, located in the more populated area of the capital city of Caracas, claimed that several of her colleagues had been assaulted by criminals on the street.

Many health professionals sent to Venezuela have managed to escape from Cuban medical missions there. Those who remain must continue to face the critical situation under Maduro’s regime, which only looks to get worse with these upcoming military exercises.

Sources: Cubanet; Martí Noticias; Diario las Américas; Diario de Cuba; El Nacional.

Karina Martín Karina Martín

Karina Martín is a Venezuelan reporter with the PanAm Post based in Valencia. She holds a bachelor's degree in Modern Languages from the Arturo Michelena University.