miércoles, febrero 18, 2009

Cuban doctors defect in Venezuela after Chávez's victory.

Large number of Cuban doctors defects in Venezuela after Chávez's victory
I spoke tonight with Dr. Julio Cesar Alfonso; President of Solidaridad sin Fronteras (Solidarity without Frontiers), an organization that helps Cuban doctors who have been sent by the Cuban regime to work in foreign countries and who have expressed a desire to defect.
Dr. Alfonso told me that since Sunday, when Hugo Chávez won the referendum in Venezuela, a "large contingent" of Cuban doctors has defected.
Many have been able to cross the border into Colombia and many others are in hiding.
Some who have been able to communicate with Dr. Alfonso told him that they decided to defect after Chávez victory on Sunday, because they are afraid that Venezuela will soon become another Cuba.
Dr. Alfonso said that it is hard to tell the exact number of doctors who have defected.
People in Venezuela who work with Solidaridad sin Fronteras offering refuge to Cuban doctors who want to defect, have told Dr. Alfonso that they are overwhelmed by the number of Cuban doctors who are contacting them, after they abandoned their jobs in the last two days and went into hiding.
One of the biggest problems for Cuban doctors who try to defect is that as soon as they arrive in Venezuela, or any other country where they are sent, they have to turn their passports to Cuban diplomats in that country.
This makes it very difficult for them to have the proper documents of identification that are required by authorities in other countries where they are trying to go.
In August of 2006, the United States announced a program that would make it easier for defecting Cuban doctors to reach the United States, but the program has never worked as well as it was expected.
Dozens of doctors, who reached Colombia after abandoning their jobs in Venezuela, are still waiting for more than a year for US authorities to respond to their request to travel to the United States.
Source: The Real Cuba. February 18, 2009