Ex-Minister: Cuba Earns $11.5 Billion From Export of Professional Services
14ymedio, Miami, 17 April 2017 — Cuban professional services abroad are
the main source of foreign exchange for the government and represent an
estimated 11.543 billion dollars annually, according to an article
published in the official press by the island's former Minister of the
Economy, José Luis Rodríguez.
Most of the income comes from the more than 50,000 healthcare
professionals who work in some sixty countries around the world, nearly
half of whom are doctors and specialists in different branches of medicine.
The recently published Health Statistics Yearbook 2016 reveals that
Cuban professionals are in 24 countries in Latin America and the
Caribbean, in almost three dozen African countries, and in the Middle
East, East Asia and the Pacific. In Europe they are present in Russia
In 2014, the Cuban government said that the country obtained 8.2 billion
dollars for the provision of health services abroad, a figure that would
have declined after the fall in oil prices and the crisis in
Venezuela. It also maintains other cooperation programs from which it
receives dividends, such as the export of professionals in education,
technicians, engineers and athletes.
Venezuela is the main market for Cuban professionals. In the health
sector alone it is estimated that more than 28,000 Cuban professionals
remain in that country as a part of the agreements that the government
of Hugo Chaves and his successor, Nicolás Maduro, pay for with oil.
According to Maduro, Venezuela has invested more than 250 billion
dollars in health agreements between both nations since 1999. More than
124,000 Cuban professionals in that sector have worked in Venezuela,
said the president.
The second country in terms of numbers of Cuban professionals is Brazil,
which since the beginning of the More Doctors program, in 2013, has
contracted through the Pan American Health Organization for 11,400 Cuban
Following the ousting of President Dilma Rousseff, Cuba renegotiated the
contract and gained a 9% increase in the salaries of professionals. The
country also renewed the contract for the island's professionals for
three more years. However, the thousands of Cubans who have contracted
marriages with Brazilians to obtain permanent residence, and the more
than 1,600 who are in the process of validating their credentials in
Brazil and separating themselves from the guardianship of Havana, have
caused Cuba to suspend the sending of new doctors to Brazil to avoid
The Cuban government, through the Cuban Medical Services Dealer, offers
workers on the island, whose salary is around $40 a month, some benefits
and better remuneration if they will agree to go on the missions. In no
case do the professionals negotiate their contracts directly with the
employer, which is why the Cuban authorities keep between 50 and 75% of
Family members are not allowed to stay for more than three months with
the professionals on "medical missions," who must return to the island
when they finish their contracts. If they do not, they are prohibited
from returning to Cuba for eight years, according to the current
Some organizations like Solidarity Without Borders, which helps Cuban
doctors who decide to defect from government missions, denounce these
contracts as "the greatest human trafficking case in modern history."
Until January 12th of this year, the United States maintained a special
welcome program known as Cuban Medical Professional Parole (CMPP) to
welcome health professionals who escaped medical missions.
The CMPP, established in 2006 under the administration of George Bush,
was a point of friction with Havana, which called for its
elimination. More than 8,000 professionals took advantage of this
program. Cuban-American members of Congress from Florida have vowed to
work for its reinstatement.
The health system on the island is free, state-run and universal. A
total of 493,368 people work in the system, of which 16,852 are
dentists, 89,072 are nurses and 63,471 are technicians.
After the end of the Soviet subsidy the quality of the healthcare system
collapsed. Cubans often complain about the absence of the specialists
who have been sent to third countries. Recently the government began to
deliver symbolic bills to remind citizens that "public health is free,
but it costs."
Source: Ex-Minister: Cuba Earns $11.5 Billion From Export of
Professional Services – Translating Cuba -