The desperate story of a Cuban doctor in Brazil: "The parole is our only hope, Bolsonaro lied to us"
Anaysi Fuentes Petrolanda is desperate. She is one of about 2 thousand Cuban health professionals who decided to try their luck in Brazil after the Island Government decided to suspend the Mais Medicos program in that country.
The doctor, 45, lives in a small city in the state of Maranhão. Currently, he does not have a job and does not believe that this situation will change in the coming months.
He lives there with his daughter María Del Mar Ojeda Fuentes and his little grandson, 2 years old. The child suffered a head trauma and they had to sell the house in Cuba to pay the treatment costs.
His daughter, who arrived in Brazil crossing borders, also does not find work because it is very difficult to obtain it in that community. The savings have gone.
"As if that were not enough, they exclude us here because they are foreigners," he explains.
"Very soon we will not have how to pay the rent ... We've been here for 4 months and we're running out of money, we've sold everything in the house so we can buy things for the baby."
Without work in Brazil and without a home in Cuba, the only hope of these two women is that the United States Government reopens the parole program for the island's doctors who are stranded in different regions.
"President Jair Bolsonaro lied to us. He said in November the opportunity of revalidation and jobs and everything was a lie because when he assumed the new minister of health he only opened calls for Brazilian doctors and they forgot the promises. "
"We do not return to Cuba because that would be a worse decision," he says.
At the end of last year, Bolsonaro said that in order for Cuban doctors to continue working in Brazil, the island's government had to pay them full salary, since they kept most of it. He also demanded that the authorities allow his doctors to travel with their relatives.
To prevent the meddling of Cuban security agents in the Mais Médicos program, the president also requested that the professionals conduct a revalidation examination.
Cuba did not accept the conditions and in a matter of weeks it withdrew the thousands of workers it had in that country. Around 2 thousand of them decided not to return. Among other reasons, they trusted in being able to continue their life as doctors in Brazil.
The situation has changed. The Mais Médicos program filled its call with Brazilian professionals and currently most Cubans live similar to Anaisy's.