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CARACAS, Monday October 01, 2012 | Update
 
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WELFARE | Some 31,777 physicians were in Venezuela early in February

Cuban physicians desert in fear of Chávez's electoral defeat

Since May, 80 Cuban doctors have deserted Venezuela, revealed sources close to health program Misión Barrio Adentro

In 2011, at least 700 Cuban physicians around the world abandoned the missions provided for under the agreements between the communist Cuban Government and other with 66 countries (Photo: Rony Vargas)
FRANK LÓPEZ BALLESTEROS |  EL UNIVERSAL
Monday October 01, 2012  12:33 PM
Cuban officials coordinating Venezuelan health program "Misión Barrio Adentro" are worried about the numerous desertions taking place in Venezuela. It is believed that as many as 80 Cuban physicians have left the country on a monthly basis over the last 90 days, ahead of October 7 presidential election. Furthermore, the exodus may exceed the figure recorded in 2011 (500 doctors). 

"Some 22 physicians, including me, deserted the program in different parts of the country in just one week in May (...) It has been at least 80 people per month," commented Yumar Gómez, a Cuban physician who is now in Miami. 

In 2011, at least 700 Cuban physicians around the world abandoned the missions provided for under the agreements between the communist Cuban Government and other 66 countries. As many as 500 of those physicians were in Venezuela, cited "Barrio Afuera," an organization that supports Cuban physicians seeking to leave "Barrio Adentro."

"Many believe things are not alright. Some have left because they believe that President Chávez is far from winning the election and his defeat is imminent. Let me tell you this... many do not want to return to Cuba," Gómez asserted.

Early in February President Chávez said that there are 44,804 Cubans working in seven social programs (commonly known as missions) since 2003.

Nevertheless, on October 22, 2010, in an unusual press conference, Cuban Ambassador to Venezuela Rogelio Polanco said that there were "40,000 people cooperating, 30,000 of which are serving as doctors." Thus, 4,804 (12%) additional people arrived in the country in two years.
TWITTER: @FRANCHUTERIAS

Translated by Jhean Cabrera
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