Brazil’s far-right government requested the return of thousands of Cuban doctors to help fight the coronavirus. Months ago, President Jair Bolsonaro smeared the doctors as “terrorists” and expelled them.
by Ben Norton
Part 2 - US government and corporate media smear Cuban doctors, spreading conspiracies
It is not just Brazil’s far-right government that has spread absurd conspiracies about Cuban medical experts.
The US government has for many years targeted Cuba’s international doctors program, spreading lies and falsely likening it to human trafficking.
The George W. Bush administration created a counter-program in 2006 called the Cuban Medical Professional Parole to essentially bribe the Cuban doctors to defect. The Bush-era program offered residence in the United States to thousands of Cuban medical professionals if they agreed to switch sides and help the US embassy in the country where they were serving abroad.
Corporate media outlets have also echoed the US government’s propaganda targeting Cuba’s doctors program.
The New York Times published a dubiously sourced story falsely claiming that the government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro was using the medical attention provided by Cuban doctors “as a political weapon” to “compel patients to vote for the government.”
The Times’ accusation was based on anonymous opposition supporters and former Cuban doctors who defected to live under the right-wing governments of Brazil, Chile, and Ecuador, which each advance policies aggressively targeting Cuba for regime change.
The Times’ propaganda talking points were dismantled by journalists Lucas Koerner and Ricardo Vaz, who live in Venezuela. Koerner and Vas demonstrated meticulously how the “article [was] riddled with factual inaccuracies, omissions and misrepresentations.”
It is true that Venezuela’s medical system has been devastated by the US government’s sanctions and an exodus of many of its own medical professionals.
Cuba has played an integral role in supporting Venezuela’s battered health system, while Washington’s economic war systematically dismantled it.
This March, Cuba dispatched a team of medical experts to Venezuela to help the country contain the Covid-19 crisis.