The Cuban doctors sent to support during the covid-19 pandemic in Mexico City limited themselves to “making beds, taking vital signs, conducting surveys, in addition to passing sponges to patients to bathe,” revealed a report released by LatinusUS.
The Mexican portal directed by the journalist Carlos Loret de Mola had access to 1,000 reports written by the same Cuban health workers, who acknowledge that “they were not in charge of covid care areas nor did they carry out any specialized activity.” This contrasts with the triumphalism of the Cuban authorities, who came to claim the decline in mortality caused by the coronavirus in Mexico. For example, a statement from the Ministry of Public Health last year, in which it was ensured that thanks to the health brigade the fatality rate was reduced by 21% in the units to which the Cubans were assigned.
“With the support of the Mexican personnel and the experience of the collaborators, they were able to overcome adversity, and save more than 95% of those admitted for the new coronavirus there,” said Osvaldo Castellanos Ravanal, who was in charge of the team that worked on the field hospital 1.
The publication of LatinusUS collapses the official discourse. Through the transparency portal, this outlet accessed 426 monthly logs of Cuban health workers and nurses who were in Army medical units between December 2020 and February 2021 and the reports of 266 health workers who extended their stay in Mexico.
The documents reveal that the members of the Henry Reeve brigade delivered to the Secretary of National Defense (Sedena) reports based on 30 templates, made by computer and by hand, in which “words, paragraphs, wording and even the same omissions are repeated and the lack of signatures,” is mentioned in the report.
The use of templates for preparing the reports has also been pointed out by Javier Larrondo, president of the NGO Prisoners Defenders. “They give the doctors a model and tell them: you have to do it that way, explains Larrondo, who details that they can tell them to exchange some point and sign it or “they can tell them to take and sign.” These papers, the activist denounces, “They are to misrepresent reports and fulfill what they ask us in a fraudulent way.”
To count the importation of some 700 toilets, present in Mexican territory from April to July 2021, the federal government transferred to Mexico City, through the Health Institute for Well-being (Insabi) 135,875,081.52 pesos (6,296,342 dollars) to “help him in the covid crisis.” The Claudia Sheinbaum administration spent a total of 150,759,867 pesos (6,986,091 dollars) on them, once the 14,884,785 pesos (689,749 dollars) were added for lodging and food for the Cubans.
That first contingent, closely followed by the press, was followed by others as of December 2021. Destined mainly to military hospitals, their operation was more opaque, and it is not yet known how much Mexico paid Havana for them.
The support of the North American country to the Island increased with a controversial scholarship program for medical students. The Administration of Andrés Manuel López Obrador delivered $1,501,766 to the Comercializadora de Servicios Médicos Cubanos, SA for 172 students who are studying a specialty on the island, although 1,000 scholarship holders were expected.
Despite the failure in its first stage, this year the offer was extended to 13 medical specialties. Scholarship doctors, who will receive support of 1,090 euros per month, must cover the cost of medical insurance that ranges from 231 to 753 euros and will be paid “directly.”
The Government of Mexico, in addition, confirmed this year the hiring of 500 doctors and the purchase of Cuban vaccines against covid-19. The Mexican president called those who oppose the arrival of this brigade “selfish” and warned that “he will not take a step back”.
López Obrador’s position occurs while a Mexican judge who admitted for processing a demand that rejects the hiring of Cuban doctors and the complaint filed on June 5 by the opposition deputy Gabriel Quadri before the Attorney General’s Office for “human trafficking, labor exploitation and forced labor” before the arrival of health workers.
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