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Wed May 15, 2019, 10:03 AM

The hidden world of the doctors Cuba sends overseas

... In October 2011, the young doctor was posted to a clinic in the Venezuelan town of El Sombrero. The placement was part of the Barrio Adentro (Inside the Neighbourhood) scheme, which has distributed Cuban doctors around disadvantaged parts of the South American country since 2003 as a symbol of Cuban support for the regime of the late President Hugo Chávez and his successor, Nicolás Maduro. Venezuela pays for this and other services by Cuban workers with oil.

Dayli says she found herself in a virtual war zone - one in which she became accustomed to having a gun pointed at her.

Venezuela was at that time in the midst of a crime rate spiral that has led to a murder rate of 92 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2016, according to the NGO Venezuelan Observatory of Violence. World Bank figures put the 2016 figure at 56 per 100,000, topped only by El Salvador and Honduras.

"There were many criminal gangs," says Dayli. "When they fought, they brought their injured to us, because the local Venezuelan hospital had a police presence, and we didn't. These kids would bring in a patient with 12 or 15 bullets in his body, point their guns at you and say you had to save him. If he died, you would die. That kind of thing happened on a daily basis. It was routine."

The gang members she treated were often just teenagers of 15 and 16, she says...


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