The first group of 205 Cuban medics have returned to the island after being recalled due to the authoritarian and offensive remarks made by President-elect Jair Bolsonaro. President Miguel Diaz-Canel saluted every single one of the doctors upon their arrival to Havana.
"You are more than medics because you have returned to the homeland with such a revolutionary experience that has ennobled you," said President Diaz-Canel to the doctors who arrived in Havana Friday. President Diaz-Canel also used the #MasQueMedicos (#MoreThanMedics) and tweeted "they return to the homeland with dignity as a shield and as a flag."
The Cuban leader highlighted the medic's "disinterestedness, altruism, full surrender," and who have rendered their services in places where there was no medical assistance in Brazil and "were able to cure the sick and also to animate the soul of millions of Brazilians. They gave people attention that they had never received."
The medics arrived on a plane from Cubana de Aviación that is in charge of bringing back 8,332 health professionals that were part of the Mais Medicos program, started in 2013. All the doctors will be back on the island by Dec. 12, according to the Cuban authorities.
Regresan dignos nuestros compatriotas convertidos en #MasQueMedicos porque llegaron a donde nadie llegó, para curar y atender enfermedades y para animar el alma de los necesitados. Demostraron que un mundo mejor es posible. Sentido homenaje a #FidelCastro #HastaSiempreComandante— Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (@DiazCanelB) November 23, 2018
"Our compatriots return dignified. They have become #MasQueMedicos because they went to where no one has gone, to cure and to care for diseases and to inspire the souls of the needy. They showed that a better world is possible. A meaningful homage to #FidelCastro #HastaSiempreComandante"
In early November, Brazil's far-right Jair Bolsonaro, who will assume power on Jan. 1, criticized the Mais Medicos (More Doctors) program, saying it was torture for Cuban mothers who were "not allowed" to go with their children and questioning diplomatic ties with the island. "Can we maintain diplomatic relations with a country that treats its people that way?" Bolsonaro said. The narrative used by Bolsonaro will leave at least 24 million Brazilians with no medical assistance whatsoever, according to Brasil 247
The declarations forced Cuban authorities to put an end to the program that benefited over 30 million Brazilians since 2013. Brazil's newly elected authorities were trying to change the accords signed through the Mais Medicos program between the two countries and the Panamerican Health Organization (OPS).
The "Brazilian People needs us," told one of the doctors to Cuban media outlet Cuba Debate. These health professionals have worked in the most inhospitable and secluded places of Brazil and gave attention to people who had never seen a doctor in their lives. "Our homage to the men and women who made history in Brazil. Welcome home," tweeted Diaz-Canel.