A first group of 50 Cuban doctors hired by Calabria last August It has arrived at its destination three months late. In a advertisement Through his social networks, the president of that Italian region, Roberto Occhiuto, took the opportunity to defend the controversial decision to import toilets from the Island.
“They tried to stop us, with controversy and bureaucratic setbacks, but we succeeded,” wrote the councilor, who belongs to the right-wing Forza Italia party, founded by Silvio Berlusconi. The doctors will begin a course to learn Italian at the University of Calabria on January 2 and, “as soon as they are ready,” added the official, they will go to hospitals.
Occhiuto signed a health agreement last August with the Cuban ambassador to Italy, Mirtha Granda Averhoff, for the hiring of 497 Cuban professionals, who were expected to start arriving in September. The decision is based, as the councilor has justified, on the fact that the European country is facing a shortage of health personnel, particularly in the Calabria region.
In his latest publication, he insisted that the doctors “are not going to steal any jobs from Italian doctors” but that “they will help us keep the wards and hospitals open.” “We kept looking for Italian doctors through competitions, but now the danger was that we had to close the health facilities due to lack of personnel,” she added.
Calabria will pay 4,700 euros for each doctor, of which 3,500 will be delivered to the Cuban regime and 1,200 euros are for maintenance, accommodation, travel and training expenses
The Italian local press He specified that the Cuban professionals will stay in a military installation where, for three weeks, they will perfect their Italian. Then 16 doctors will be distributed in Locri, 16 in Polistena, 10 in Gioia Tauro and 10 in Melito Posto Salvo. In total 52 professionals, two more than the official number.
Calabria will pay 4,700 euros for each doctor, of which 3,500 will be delivered to the Cuban regime and 1,200 euros are for maintenance, accommodation, travel and training expenses. According to calculations by the Italian press, the annual cost for hiring Cuban toilets will be 28 million euros per year.
The medical brigades are one of the main sources of foreign currency for the Government of Havana, and have been denounced as forced labor by international organizations such as Human Rights Watch or Prisoners Defenders. The United States also has Cuba on the list of countries that fail to comply with international human rights standards, precisely because of these missions.
In addition to Italy, the latest medical brigades have arrived in Mexico and Qatar, although Cuba has sent health workers to dozens of countries such as Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Angola. Within the framework of the Soccer World Cup, Prisoners Defenders accused these countries of hiring the professionals in slave-like conditions since the doctors are threatened with the Cuban Criminal Code that, if they do not return to the Island or leave work, they can be sentenced to eight years in prison.
The United States also has Cuba on the list of countries that fail to comply with international human rights standards, precisely because of these missions.
Likewise, the toilets denounce that they are not allowed to participate in public events that do not have the approval of the brigade chiefs and that they are urged to participate in campaigns to support the Government on social networks.
The Madrid-based NGO recalled that the European Parliament condemned the Cuban brigades in a resolution of September 2021, where it declared that the “Cuban State continues to systematically violate the labor and human rights of its health personnel assigned to work in the foreigner on medical missions, which makes them comparable to a contemporary form of slavery according to the United Nations”.
Cuba sent doctors to Italy for the first time in March 2020, at the most critical moment of the covid-19 pandemic for the European nation. These professionals worked in the field hospitals installed in Crema and Turin.
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