It is not exactly what Ramona Rodriguez had expected: In October of last year the Cuban doctor arrived in Brazil, a country with a severe shortage of physicians, to work in the far northeast state of Para, on the border to Suriname and Guyana.
....Rodriguez came to Brazil as part of the 'Mais Medicos' program (More Doctors); a program introduced by the Brazilian government last year to combat the shortage of trained medical personnel in the more remote regions of the country.
The program offers a salary of 10,000 Brazilian reals ($4,200/3,150 euros) per month and is open to both Brazilian and foreign physicians.Who can guess the problem?
A special arrangement between Havana and Brasilia, however, stipulates that the salaries of the Cuban doctors be directly transferred back home.
The Cuban government, in return, only pays its doctors working in Brazil $400 a month. Another $600 for each month spent in Brazil is handed over to the Cuban doctors when they return home. The rest - more than $3,000 - is kept by the state - about 75 percent of each doctor's salary.Nice work for the People, if you can get it. And, you can get it if you're a totalitarian dictator (or the brother of one) . Which complicates matters for the Brazilian government, now that Dr. Rodriguez has applied for asylum, and the reality is becoming all too well publicized;
She said she did not talk about the salary question to her Cuban colleagues because they would have reported it to their Cuban superiors. Her daughter is contacted every day by the Cuban authorities who ask a lot of questions. She also has stopped meeting with Cuban colleagues. "If I called them, they would get in trouble for talking with a deserter, a traitor," she said.But now a second Cuban doctor has followed suit, and if Brazil grants them asylum, how many more will join the party? Which complicates not only the medical program, but Brazil's other commercial arrangements with the slave holders back in Havana;
The Brazilian Development Bank, for example, loaned the Brazilian construction company, Odebrecht, nearly $700 million (525 million euros) to build Cuba's new billion-dollar Mariel container port.Strange bedfellows, no?