Closer Relations Between Cuba and Mexico on the Agenda
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Closer Relations Between Cuba and Mexico on the Agenda

Photo by:   Juan Luis Ozaez
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Paloma Duran By Paloma Duran | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Fri, 02/10/2023 - 18:05

Cuban President Miguel Díaz Canel will soon visit Mexico to discuss key policy issues with Mexico’s President López Obrador. The proximity of the two governments, as well as the agreements reached between the countries, have been condemned as Cuba is accused of violating human rights.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrad informed that the meeting will be held in Campeche, where officials will also supervise the progress of the Mayan Train. Among the topics to be discussed will be the arrival of more Cuban doctors in Mexico, COVID-19 vaccines and strategies to strengthen the countries’ economies. "We are going to have a bilateral meeting with several officials from both countries to review the bilateral relationship, especially the exchange of medical issues," said Ebrard.

For months, Cuba has been sending doctors to Mexico, as the government said the country lacks health professionals willing to work in marginalized areas of the territory. The most requested doctors for these areas specialize in cardiology, pediatrics, general surgery and orthopedics, among other specializations.

Several of Mexico’s medical organizations and practitioners stated that López Obrador's initiative discriminates against Mexican doctors because they already compete in an oversaturated labor market. In addition, they highlighted that Cuban doctors do not meet the legal requirements to work in Mexico, so the government is giving them preferential treatment by employing them.

The Mexican government explained it decided that the meetings would include a visit to the Mayan Train since 20,000 t of Cuban ballast were imported to Mexico for the development of the project.

This will be Díaz-Canel's fourth visit to Mexico during the presidency of López Obrador, who visited Havana in May 2022 to sign the agreement that enabled the Cuban doctors to work in Mexico. The presidents furthermore signed two health cooperation agreements to promote medical training, research and emergency assistance, as well as to create a legal framework to foster technical, scientific and academic cooperation. López Obrador explained that the main objective of the countries is to address the impact of COVID-19 and other pandemics.

López Obrador has been criticized for his strong ties to the Cuban government, which is accused of overseeing a dictatorship and violating human rights. However, López Obrador has not changed his position on his friendship with the country and has even demanded that the US end its "medieval and inhumane" embargo on the country, which started in the 1960s. The trade embargo, the most enduring in the modern era, has been targeted by the UN General Assembly. Nevertheless, veto votes have kept it in force despite the assembly’s formal demands to remove it since 1992. 

Photo by:   Juan Luis Ozaez

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