Not a penny for fighting Ebola
The Cuban medical personnel who fought Ebola have not received the cars, homes or payments promised them by the regime, while those tapped for honors are still waiting for their medals.
Death and burial far from their homes and families was the risk run by the Cuban health personnel who traveled to Africa to help stamp out the Ebola epidemic. If they returned safe and sound they were to receive a car and a house from the State, and full payment from the World Health Organization (WHO) for services rendered.
But, according to one of those who was deployed, who spoke under the condition of strict anonymity, to date they have not received a car, a house, or one penny from the WHO (pay due estimated at 8,000 -10,000 dollars/month). And neither have the 248 medical professionals promised the Carlos J. Finlay Prize been decorated, due to the absence of medals.
The only money they had during their dangerous missions in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, says the source, came from their own savings, aside from their daily expense allowance "provided by the UN," consisting of 70-100 dollars. This money was distributed by the económico (a medical brigade member who functioned as an administrator), in accordance with the regions in which they worked.
The amount saved by each member of the brigade ranged from 35 to 60 dollars per day (1,000 to 1,800 dollars per month). "Thus far, this has been the only economic compensation they have received for their dangerous mission in West Africa," says the source.
In December of 2014, the magazine Newsweek revealed the lack of transparency surrounding the monthly payments to be issued by the WHO to the Cuban health brigade in Africa, "which were estimated at $1,500 in salary, and an additional 1,500 to be deposited into personal bank accounts."
According to their report, a WHO spokesman stated the organization allocated 200-240 dollars a day to each member of the brigade as a stipend for expenses. The figures show that, based on the testimony of the Cuban brigade member, the Cuban personnel ended up receiving less than half the money designated for them.
Similarly, the Office for International Development (OFID), belonging to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) funded the Cuban government with $400,000 to support the work of the Cuban brigades in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
The calculations reveal that the Cuban government pocketed at least $26.4 million, at the expense of Cuba's health personnel. Moreover, the regime actually benefitted from excellent PR burnishing its international image due to coverage by the likes of the The New York Times.
Of all the members of the Cuban brigade, two died in Africa after contracting malaria, and two in Cuba for reasons that are still unclear. The Cuban government's neglect of these heroes is common knowledge, while the regime has striven to focus attention on the image of the five spies released on December 17.