SÃO PAULO, Brazil — Brazil is planning to hire 6,000 Cuban doctors to serve in remote parts of the country where medical services are lacking or nonexistent.
"Cuba is very proficient in the areas of medicine, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology and Brazil is considering receiving Cubans doctors in talks that involve the [Pan-American Health Organization] PAHO," Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota said following a meeting with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez.
The Cuban doctors are expected to be sent to poor areas of Brazil's northeast and Amazon jungle regions, despite Brazilian medical associations expressing their opposition to Cuban-trained medical professionals. They claim standards at medical schools in Cuba are lower than those in Brazil and consider them more equivalent, in some cases, to a nursing education in Brazil.
More from GlobalPost: Brazilian doctor, charged with 7 murders, may have killed 300
Cuba has sent 30,000 doctors over the past 10 years to work in poor neighborhoods of Venezuela under an agreement with the late President Hugo Chavez. The deal involved exchanging medical services for cheap oil.
Patriota said the plan would strengthen ties between Havana and Brasilia, and announced that Brazil will finance the modernization of five airports in Cuba. Brazilian construction mega-company Odebrecht has already started building a container terminal at the Mariel port.