BRAZIL
FACTS
Health workers: 79 (+29 for Covid-
19)
Cumulative: 1,000 (approximate)
Mission status: Active
AGREEMENTS
MOST RECENT AGREEMENT
DURATION: 45 years
BEGAN: 1975
AGREEMENT SIGNER: N/A
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Geographic areas: Río de Janeiro, Sao Paulo,
Salvador de Bahía, Amazonia and other 33
Special Indigenous Districts
Health areas: Various (broad range)
Contracts obtained: NO
Agreement obtained: NO
Laws available: NO
Current figures:
• Active personnel: None
• Defectors: 450
• Did not return to Cuba: 2,000
• Prohibited from returning to Cuba: 2,450
Media available: Yes
Official information available: Yes
Violations documented: Yes
Cases before UN/ICC: SI
Cases in courts: Yes
Most relevant violations: Confiscation of
passport, mandatory residences assigned, not
allowed to stay in places other than their
residences overnight, restrictions on
movement within the country, monitoring by
supervisors and colleagues, curfew, prohibited
from having relationships with nationals.

SUMMARY

Cuba’s medical collaboration with Brazil began under the government of President Dilma Rousseff through the “Mais Médicos” program (in which Portuguese, Argentinean, and Spanish personnel also participated, voluntarily). This was a three-party agreement involving the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which brokered and administered the agreement, in addition to Cuba and Brazil. These parties claimed the program encouraged and supported the study of medicine among Brazilian youth. In fact, “Mais Médicos” was created to provide funds to Cuba, as revealed by recordings of the Brazilian Ministry of Health that were made public and cables of the Brazilian embassy in Cuba. The Brazilian government paid $4,276 USD per medical worker. PAHO kept five percent of this amount (around $213) while the worker kept only $400 (9.35 percent of the total amount) and $600 was deposited to an account in Cuba which the worker could access only after completing the three-year mission (none of the medical workers who were in Brazil received this). Since August 2014, a scandal related to the conditions endured by the workers prompted an investigation by the federal accountability office; Cuba and Brazil were forced to improve conditions, allow the workers to receive the payment that was being deposited in an account in Cuba (although not in USD), and raise the salary to 2,976 Brazilian reals. In 2018, President Jair Bolsonaro publicly condemned the program for exploiting the workers and demanded that they be paid their full salary, be allowed to bring family, and validate their license; in response, the government of Cuba terminated the agreement and recalled the workers.

DOCUMENTED CASES

Anonymous: 112

Link to anonymous questionnaires
Not anonymous: 64

Link to public questionnaires 

Public (media): Link to media coverage
Findings from cases: Violations stemming from Resolution 168 (e.g., monitoring, restrictions on personal activities, restrictions on movement and visits, and curfews), confiscation of passports, assigned mandatory residences, and more documented here.

NAMES OF CHIEFS OF MISSIONS

Dr. Yiliam Jiménez Expósito, Chief of Medical Brigade, 2018
Dr. Leoncio Fuentes Correa, Chief of Mission, 2016-2018
Dr. Joaquín Molina, PAHO representative, 2013-2018
Dr. Vivian Isabel Chávez Pérez, PAHO coordinator

RELEVANT NEWS ARTICLES AND OTHER ITEMS

EnglishSpanish