Mexico signed a bilateral health agreement with the Cuban regime for health emergencies despite previous controversy

President López Obrador met with the Cuban dictator, Díaz-Canel, at the Palace of the Revolution on his last day of work tour abroad (Photo: Twitter@PresidenciaCuba)

The Mexican government signed a bilateral cooperation agreement on health with the Cuban regime in order to combat health emergencies. This despite the controversy generated in 2020 by the hiring of Cuban doctors by Mexico to combat the coronavirus pandemic, in which more than 250 million pesos were allocated.

On the last day of his overseas business tour -which began on May 5-, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador held a meeting with the Cuban dictator, Miguel Díaz-Canelin the Palace of the Revolution where he was received with honors.

At the ceremony, he presided Secretary of Health, Jorge Alcocer Varelaby Mexico, and the Admiral José Rafael Ojeda Durán, Secretary of the Navyon the Cuban side, as well as authorities of the Cuban regime.

This agreement expresses the will to strengthen the historical ties between the Cuban regime and the Mexican government, as well as to intensify bilateral activities, promote cooperation in the face of the ravages caused by the current COVID-19 pandemic and collaborate in dealing with health crises and epidemics.

AMLO's meeting with Díaz-Canel is part of his work tour abroad, which began on May 5 (Photo: Twitter@PresidenciaCuba)
AMLO’s meeting with Díaz-Canel is part of his work tour abroad, which began on May 5 (Photo: Twitter@PresidenciaCuba)

However, it should be remembered that previously some agreements had already been concluded between the two countries in the area of ​​health, some of which were severely criticized. And it is that one of the strategies of the López Obrador government in the face of the current pandemic was hire 588 Cuban doctors, for which more than 255 million pesos (mp) were allocated.

The former was known as theCubagate”, after the coordinator of the National Action Party (PAN) in the Senate of the Republic, Julen Rementería, presented an investigation into this case, in which he pointed out that said doctors were not qualified, for which he described them as “false doctors” .

Under the argument of being “specialized personnel”, the Health Institute for Well-being (Insabi) transferred 135 million 875 thousand pesos to the capital government for the care of patients with coronavirus on April 21, 2020. Three days later, the CDMX signed another biannual agreement with the Cuban regime for 103 million 638 thousand 266.40 pesos.

Given this, the PAN member requested information on the amount of salaries awarded to Cuban doctors, as well as a copy of their professional titles, the accreditation of their profession in Mexico and the medical units to which they were sent, since in December that year, the president of the capital, Claudia Sheinbaum, announced that Cuba’s 500 doctors were already working in public institutions of Sedena, Semar, IMSS and ISSSTE.

In this sense, Rementeria pointed out that Hiring Cuban doctors for three months cost each of the Mexicans about 437 thousand 390 pesoswhen a qualified doctor in Mexico earns around 17 thousand pesos in the IMSS.

Government would have hired Cuban doctors without a degree to treat covid-19.
Government would have hired Cuban doctors without a degree to treat covid-19.

Despite having requested information from the National Migration Institute, the CDMX government and the National Commission for Medical Arbitration on the accreditation of the 585 Cuban doctors, no dependency said to have the requested documentationarguing that it is the responsibility of the Cuban Ministry of Health to make such information known.

The amount granted by Insabi covered the costs of training, advice and joint investigation, as well as the salaries of medical personnel.. As for lodging, it was subsidized through donations made by hoteliers from CDMX.

Despite the controversy generated by the hiring, the Mexican foreign minister expressed his gratitude to the Cuban doctors for their “support” to Mexico to face the COVID-19 pandemic. “Our gratitude always with you,” wrote Marcelo Ebrard in July 2020 on his social networks.

On the other hand, it is worth mentioning that President López Obrador’s visit to Cuba is part of the last day of his work tour of Central America and the Caribbean that began on May 5in which he held meetings with his counterparts from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Belize.

Among the main topics addressed, the social programs “Sembrando Vida” and “Jóvenes Construyendo el Futuro” stand out, as well as cross-border security, trade and migration, mainly.

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