Venezuelan doctors resent presence of thousands of Cuban doctors in their country

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 13 March 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:579
  1. Tiago Villanueva1,
  2. Sara Carrillo de Albornoz2
  1. 1Lisbon
  2. 2London

The introduction of many Cuban doctors to Venezuela as a result of political ties between the two countries is leading to strong resentment of the foreign doctors among members of the Venezuelan medical profession.

Doctors at the sixth medicosocial conference of the Venezuelan Medical Council (Federación Médica Venezolana), which took place recently in Cumaná, questioned the quality of training and competence of the 20 000 Cuban doctors who work in their country.

An agreement was drawn up in 2001 between Venezuela and Cuba to improve the delivery of medical care in the poorest regions of Venezuela, through a project called Misión Barrio Adentro (BMJ 2006;333:464; doi: 10.1136/bmj.333.7566.464).

According to Jesús Mantilla, a Venezuelan health minister, the project reaches 95% of the population. He says that its doctors have provided more than 278 million consultations and have saved an estimated 74 000 lives.

But Douglas León Natera, president of the Venezuelan Medical Council, which is …

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