Friday, September 25, 2009

Cuban doctors in Venezuela

This paper of mine contains a description of some of the services being provided by Cubans in Venezuela. There’s plenty of debate about the economics of the Cuba-Venezuela partnership and the impact of the deployment of so many doctors abroad on Cuba’s domestic health care system. But it seems pretty clear that these doctors, in Venezuela and elsewhere, are helping people whose access to regular health care services was meager or nonexistent before, and it’s free of charge.

Less clear is where Venezuela’s economy is going now that Hugo Chavez has been in office ten years – the real subject of the paper.

[Photo of a Cuban-staffed clinic in Caracas.]


Anonymous said...

ven pres hugo was on larry king last night, larry typically asked a series of idiotic, antagonistic questions, then at the end he asked, "do you think you are misunderstood?'
well duh

the economy is what it is in venezuela; how bout fixing the american one

but the best part of the interview was when hugo talked about the terrorists in florida; extraditing posada and freeing the cuban five

and letting cuba breath, to stop strangling them. larry looked totally bemused

Anonymous said...

He looked bemused because he had some semblance of a brain.

Anonymous said...

a semblance, but not enough to comprehend a different point of view that challenged his preconceived ideals -- simply a reflection of the 'free' press in america.

and did you notice all he did was read the questions, absolutely no feedback; a robot could have done the same. larry looked like a tired old man

Karamchand said...

Detrás de la ayuda cubana, hay oculto para quienes no lo conocen el verdadero motivo de los médicos para ir a esos países.
Partamos de que la situación aquí enCuba es tan mísera, que cualquier otro país presenta un atractivo sin igual para los cubanos. Los médicos cubanos, tratan y luchan por conseguir misiones en paises que pagen bien, bueno, aclarando, que el gobierno cubano les pague bien, eg Venezuela. El costo para estos médicos, costo sentimental y humano es mayúsculo, alejados de sus familias, hijos y seres queridos, la meta es acumular dinero que les permita mejorar en su vida Cuba y la de los suyos. Con el dinero ahorrado, que constituye alrededor del 10% del salario real, el 90% se lo embolsilla la dictadura, al menos pueden construir sus casas, comprar electrodomésticos, etc, y lo más increíble, el propio gobierno les vende a precios en moneda dura los materiales, precios por el cielo. Mientras, cuando terminan, ya sus hijos se han hecho adultos, sus padres han fallecido o envejecido, se les ha ido años de su vida, trabajando como esclavos, para mejorar ligeramente su situación aquí; muchos, terminan buscando otras "misiones", luego que el exiguo dinero acumulado, desaparece en gastos. Otra sería la historia, de vivir en normalidad, bajo libertad y democracia, la mayoría que hoy lo hace por obligación, no pensaría ni tan siquiera en ir a otro país. Puede que en el futuro, por el exceso en la profesión, muchos emigren o viajen a otros países, pero con otras condiciones, mejores salarios, posibilidad de que sus familias los acompañe, etc, condiciones comunes a profesionales que emigran con condiciones convenientes.

Anonymous said...

Associated Press

HAVANA -- Cuba's official press said Friday that a Colombian rock star's nerves got the better of him before last weekend's historic "peace concert" in Havana, causing an outburst against authorities in which he threatened to cancel the show.

oh, well, there you have it...move along people, nothing to see here...

leftside said...

I have to say Phil, for an economics paper, there is very little on economics. One might expect figures on economic growth (the economy has doubled), employment (from more than 20% to 7%), wage growth (more than tripled), production growth (huge), consumption (out of this world), etc. Extreme poverty has gone from 24% of Venezelans to 7% - and this does not include the subsidized health, food and education now on offer. Overall a very incomplete picture of the transformation of that country was presented.

Some specific qualms:

You question how the vastly increased social services can survive with lower oil prices, compared to the period of 2002-2007. Simple math concludes that the average price of crude during that 6 year time was $40.67 - compared to today's price near $70. So this is way overblown.

And you repeat the disproven US Government claim that PDVSA is only produces 1.5 bpd, rather than that PDVSA at its word - that it has grown (despite the masive dislocations association with the industry lock-out in 2002-3). An independent audit has verified PDVSA's reports, as did this analysis by Mark Weisbrot (who concluded "there does
not appear to be any basis for the claim that Venezuela’s oil exports are overstated by PDVSA.")

Venezuelan companies are not simply "banned" from firing all workers. The provision in question only applies to workers making less than 2x the minimum wage. And workers most certainly can be fired if they broke a law or regulation. Mitsubishi just fired 750 workers...

Any discussion of inflation is incomplete without mentioning the country's history of inflation prior to Chavez (in the hundreds) - and the corresponding increases in wages that have taken place in recent years. The cause of inflation deserves a line as well - the amazing increases in consumption as the middle class grows.

The piece might have also benefitted from some mention of more recent events. For example, how the Bolivar parallel rate has dramatically declined in recent weeks. (You mention the rate at 6.52. It is actually 5.67). Or when talking about foreign investment, it would have been prudent to mention the recent HUGE injections of foreign investment in the oil industry by China, Russia, Norway, Vietnam, Italy, etc.

Anonymous said...

On Planet Leftside, Venezuelan oil production is growing.

Anonymous said...

"On Planet Leftside, Venezuelan oil production is growing."

And Chavez's seizure of businesses and farms, in Lefty's fevered mind, will lead to the heights of prosperity achieved by the former Soviet Union.

El Pingon said...

Wow, this blog is fraught with commie-sympathizers. May they all at least have the decency of filing down the horns and hooves of their children.

Anonymous said...

el pingon, go back to your hole, and your teabag media.

you must have a 9th grade education, or never have left right-wing circles in miami. come to NYC and we'll show you have the big boys play.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Cuban doctors, Penultimos Dias has an article on a Cuban child who is being denied medicine because his family of palestinos resides "illegally" in the capital of their country.

How many Venezuelans know that a right they take for granted, the right to move around inside their own country, will be denied to them if Hugo continues his Castro-inspired power grab? And what exuses will Lefty and AC make for this outrage? See:

ac said...

Thats bollocks, illegal migrants in havana has access to the same stuff that legal residents, including family doctors, medicine, vaccines, school, etc. That much I could verify last time I went there.

Whatever doctor said this kind of crap is going to get his ass burned because this kind of behavior has political connotations in Cuba.