Brazil plans to hire 6,000 Cuban doctors to work in rural areas


Brasilia, Brazil

Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota announced on Monday that Brazil is negotiating to hire at least 6,000 Cuban doctors to work in rural areas. Conversations with Cuba were initiated by President Dilma Rousseff during her visit to Havana in January of last year.

The Cubans would most likely serve poor areas of Northeast Brazil and the Amazon jungle where Brazilian doctors are reluctant to serve.

Patriota said on Monday that both Cuba and Brazil were negotiating with the Washington-based Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) to allow the Cuban doctors to practice in Brazil.

The plan is opposed by Brazilian medical associations that claim the Cuban doctors' training  is substandard and want the doctors to get certification in Brazil before they are allowed to work.

The negations are part of broader collaboration with Cuba including the production of Pharmaceuticals and Brazilian involvement in Cuban infrastructure projects.

Foreign Minister Patriota said the plan to bring Cuban doctors to Brazil would continue to strengthen ties between Brazil and Cuba that have expanded since the Worker's Party came to power.

He announced that Brazil will finance the modernization of five airports in Cuba. On Monday Brazil's Trade Minister Fernando Pimentel signed an agreement in Havana for a $176 million loan to upgrade and expand the Cuban airports.