Millions of Brazilians have been left without access to medical care, due to President-elect Jair Bolsonaro's statements against Cuban medics, and this has earned him praise from the United States. The U.S. Department of State, through its Assistant Secretary for the Bureau ofWestern Hemisphere Affairs, Kimberly Breier, for its attacks on the Cuban "regime," that resulted in Cuban doctors having to leave the South American nation.
This accusation was made by the Brazilian news network Brasil 247. "The pressure Bolsonaro put on Cuban doctors, in a clear sign of harmony with U.S. foreign policy, was praised by the United States government," as written in the news piece. On Nov. 28th, Jair Bolsonaro will receive United States national security advisor John Bolton, before his trip to Buenos Aires for the G-20.
On Wednesday, Cuba's Ministry of Public Health announced its withdrawal from the Mais Medicos (More Doctors) program. This program, a collaboration between Cuba and Brazil, started functioning in August 2013, during the Workers Party (PT) government, ensuring health coverage for over a hundred million Brazilians with no access to healthcare.
The decision comes after Brazil's far-right President-elect Jair Bolsonaro criticized the program, saying it was torture for Cuban mothers who were "not allowed" to go with their children, and questioning diplomatic ties with the island. The narrative used by Bolsonaro will leave 24 million Brazilians with no medical assistance whatsoever, according to Brasil 247
Critics have fallen upon the Brazilian government, both nationally and internationally. The Brazilian "Doctors for the People National Network (RNMMP) thanked the Cuban professionals through a statement for participating in the program and for their hard effort.
In just the city of Ponta Grossa in the state of Parana, 60 out of the 80 doctors were Cubans from the Mais Medicos program. According to Marcelo Rangel, the city's mayor, around 240,000 people will be affected by the ousting of these professionals. In Ponta Grossa, Jair Bolsonaro got 74 percent of the votes, and as an almost direct consequence, the city will lose almost 75 percent of its doctors.
Several states and municipalities inside Brazil are pressuring the National Government to provide a solution because the Cuban doctors are usually the only medical option in several rural areas of the country.
This health crisis that will hit Brazil will be deepened by austerity policies announced on several occasions by President-elect Jair Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro has attacked regulations from states and believes in extreme market freedom. For example, new Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo believes that climate change is a ploy by “cultural Marxists” to asphyxiate Western economies and promote China’s growth. He also characterized climate science as “dogma”.