Sunday 9 December 2018

Brazil's diplomatic spat with Cuba leads to medical crisis

Cuba withdraws thousands of doctors amid souring relations with Brazil's far-Right president-elect

This handout picture released by Cuban News Agency (ACN) shows the first group of doctors who arrived from Brazil after the Cuban government decided to pull them out of a medical aid program. Photo: Getty
This handout picture released by Cuban News Agency (ACN) shows the first group of doctors who arrived from Brazil after the Cuban government decided to pull them out of a medical aid program. Photo: Getty

Euan Marshall

Angelita Santos cried when she heard the doctors were leaving. The health director in a town in the south-eastern state of Sao Paulo, she was aghast to hear Cuba was pulling out medical staff that kept facilities in Brazil's neediest regions afloat.

"We were rocked by the news. The doctors called us that morning in tears, and we were in tears too," she said. Her town of Embu-Guacu had 19 doctors for its 70,000 residents only last week. Now, amid a diplomatic rupture between Havana and Brazil's new far-Right president-elect, it had been left with just two.

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