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Jimmy Roque Martinez: I was born in Havana in 1979, and it seems that work has been my sign. Custodian, fish farmer, lens carver, welder, glass maker, optometrist, have been some of my trades. But none consumes as much of my time as caring for my family. For many years I’ve faced the least pretty face of this society, and I try to be happy while I transform it. I am too shy. I like silence, sleep, theater and movies. I hate injustice and arrogance, and I can hardly contain my anger when it happens in front of me.

Cuba to Increase Wages for Doctors

December 25, 2013 | Print Print |

Jimmy Roque Martinez

Cuban doctors will be getting a raise starting January.

HAVANA TIMES – A much-announced wage increase will reach the pockets of Cuban health professionals this coming January, sources that prefer to remain anonymous told HT. There had been talk of this for about a year.

The opinions surrounding this rumor have been quite varied. Some didn’t believe it. Others thought it could happen, but that the salary increase would be next to insignificant. A few optimists not only believed the news to be true but were also convinced it would be a considerable wage increase.

The news gained some impetus this past Monday, as the payroll adjustments in the country’s health centers have begun. The wage increase is imminent and has been confirmed by at least two health sector officials to Havana Times.

One of the sources reported that the Ministry of Health hasn’t yet announced how much salaries will be raised by (apparently, it won’t be the same amount for everyone).

The adjustments will be made on the basis of the wage scale, beginning with medical doctors, who are to receive a 100 percent basic wage increase.

The salaries health professionals are to be paid for the month of December in January will reportedly already include the raise.

The news has been very well received by workers in the sector who, like education professionals, have practically no other income beyond their salaries (i.e. opportunities to misappropriate State resources or receive incentives). It is hoped a wage increase will also be seen for teachers in the not so far off future.

“It isn’t much, because, in addition to food, one has to buy other things, like soap and detergent, but it’s better than nothing,” a hospital technician stated. A janitor said that “it’s very positive and I’m very happy, but they’re going to expect more of us now.”

A doctor commented she thought it was a very encouraging development and that the salaries of Cuban health professionals working in missions in Venezuela had also been raised. “We’re heading in the right direction,” she stressed.

It is also rumored that the salaries of Cuban doctors working in the South American nation will get an additional 100 Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC), the so-called “frozen account.”

According to figures just presented to the Cuban parliament, spending in State subsidized sectors will experience a 2 percent increase in 2014, 22 percent of which will be accounted for by increased spending in public health. Most probably, this increase in State spending is related to the current wage reform.

That said, salaries will continue to be wholly inadequate in terms of satisfying the basic needs of the average Cuban, as the prices of basic products, particularly food, continue to rise at a rate higher than that of wages.

It is worth recalling that the medical services Cuba has been offering abroad have brought in large sums of money into the country and that, in view of this, health sector employees have long been demanding better payment for their work.


What's your opinion?

  • ronbobel777

    great, now they’ll get $60 a month rather than $30? and the staff in venezuela is increasingly heading to colombia and then on to other countries with most going to the USA. Still better to be a waiter or bartender at a tourist hotel than a doctor. at least the hotel worker gets to keep tips.

  • Elizabeth Faraone

    good article – thanks for writing it

    • Moses Patterson

      Good article? Depressing is more like it. Now, a talented Cuban neurosurgeon with more than 30 years of experience can look forward to a monthly salary of 60cuc? Are you kidding? My best friend in Cuba is a neurosurgeon at Calixto Garcia Hospital. His daughter dances 4 nights a week at the Parisien Cabaret at the Hotel Nacional in Havana. She earns about 120 cuc per month. A prostitute working the bar in Dos Cardenas can earn 60 cuc in an hour. With a Canadien in 30 minutes. (Just a joke Griffin). This is still a very sad situation.

  • Walter Teague

    It is a good development and a fairly objective article. Because it is trying to report on a well motivated effort to budget more fairly.

    While it mentions the central issue of how to provide medical care fairly to all in a relatively poor country, and it does suggest some of the Cuban governments efforts to find funds for their overal budget, the article is only a beginning if you want both health care for all in Cuba and some protections for the general welfare.

    The haters of the Cuban revolution of course could care less about the common good nor about fair health care for all, cause if they did, they would begin with acknowledging the achievements of the revolution, but that they will never do. Because if you are anti-socialist, you are necessarily for whatever inequality it takes to keep the “upper classes” rich and let the poor fall where they may.

    Also, a social or socialist approach to providing human services such as health care, education, food and housing for all starts with these as real goals and then looks for ways to make it happen. An anti-socialist approach on the other hand, starts with the “rights” of the rich to get ever richer (Corporations, the 1%, most libertarians, and many not so rich Republican wanna-be’s here in the US). And currently in the US, cut backs in basic services to the poor, elderly, disabled and disadvantaged are being justified as needed to meet the largest military budget in the world and also the mean spirited belief that the poor should not be helped, since that will only make enen lazier! Don’t believe this is being pushed in America? Take a look at Fox news for example.

    So how can Cuba improve without dumping socialism and the Cubans who would become even poorer if it were gone? How to pay everyone better so there is a “living wage” in Cuba for all?

    I would encourage the haters to go off and steal more money from their poor relatives and the rest of us look for creative and transparently supportive ideas and thoughts how to best reach the important goals of a more just and prosperous and still independent Cuba,

    • Moses Patterson

      There are so many things wrong in what you commented that even I don’t have the energy to address all of them. I just want to ask you one thing: Given the economic dependency of Cuba on remittances and tourism from their arch enemy to the north and the co-dependent relationship they maintain with their wet-nurse Venezuela, exactly how do you define “still independent Cuba”?

      • John Goodrich

        Moses,
        Do please address any of the issues in Walter’s post with which you disagree .
        You seem to have all the time and energy in the world to post here on a regular basis so that lack of energy you mentioned rings rather hollow and I would be more than happy to debate these issues with you .
        Or you can run way from them .

        • Moses Patterson

          Walter argues that those who oppose the revolution (1) do not care for the common good (2) do not acknowledge the accomplishments of the revolution (3) want to keep the rich, well…rich. None of these assertions are true. Opposing the revolution is, in fact, a marker for the highest regard for the common good. To oppose the revolution is to support an open and real democracy in Cuba. There is no more “common good” than giving every Cuban a voice. Widespread access to healthcare and education is a triumph of the Castro regime. No one denies this. However, those of us who oppose the Castros refuse to give them a free pass simply because of these accomplishments, especially since so many other governments have done the same without sacrificing the human rights of their people. An open and free society which assures that the poor have access to a minimum quality of life and the opportunity to improve their circumstance must also guarantee that those who followed the rules and have succeeded financially are able to maintain their rewards for hard work. Failing this guarantee undermines and demotivates those who would wish to succeed. It is not about keeping rich people rich, it is about fairness to poor AND rich alike. Take your best shot.

  • Informed Consent

    To each according to his needs….and who determines what your needs are?

    • John Goodrich

      Those standards have long been set by the W.H.O. to name one institution.
      There are standards for nutritional levels, health care levels, educational opportunity levels and safe environments in which to raise a family.
      Once EVERYONE is guaranteed those human rights, the surplus can be divided based on merit, service to the community or whatever method is democratically chosen.
      I believe democracy is the best method of deciding such things and not the .0001% in whose interests you post.
      I believe in majority rule.
      and not the Leninist-oligarchic forms you prefer to make the decisions that affect everyone’s lives.
      How do you stand on democracy ?

      • Informed Consent

        How horrible.. Suppose this group determines you don’t need your home as it best fits someone else’s needs? …or that your use of a studio to work on your glass art is an unnecessary extravagance.

        Despite your attempt to misrepresent what I say. I don’t support anyone’s “interests” It is you However that clearly supports this authoritarian Leninist form of government. It is the only way to make your system of government work.

        • John Goodrich

          It’s not “a group” . It’s the entire society that determines what is best for that society .
          It’s what democracy: rule by the people: majority rule is all about.
          If you don’t like majority rule i.e. democracy you are , by definition a totalitarian who believes in rule by the few.
          I’ll repeat this despite the fact that you will refuse to accept it I am a democrat and I am an anarchist
          This does not mean that I am a member or follower of the U.S.’s Democratic Party but rather one who believes in rule by the people: majority rule and as such, I am opposed to the form of the Cuban government , the old Soviet government, the Chinese, Korean, governments and the government of the U.S.A which now is a totalitarian oligarchy.
          Last point : as an anarchist I do not believe that ANY form of government long enough in power does not become self-preserving, corrupt and inevitably totalitarian .
          I believe not in representative democracy/republic but only in direct democracy which now is possible via the computers, cellphones and other universally owned technologies .
          So while you have the right to think that I somehow support any Leninist ( cadre-led) government , your so thinking also reflects the individual right to be in error and to cling to that error in the face of contradicting facts.
          So answer these questions :
          Are you a democrat ?
          or are you a totalitarian as I have defined those two ?

  • Informed Consent

    What you post is laughable. I can see you have never really spoken to a Cuban, or better yet lived the reality of Cuba, or you never would have posted what you did. I for one am very thankful I no longer receive these wonderful benefits in Cuba that you post of

    • John Goodrich

      Righto!
      and you can move your family to South Africa or any other poor Third World CAPITALIST country along with Moses and enjoy the privilege of VOTING while you and your families live in squalor .
      The fact is that, despite their hard lives- due in no small part -to the U.S. War On The People Of Cuba, the people of Cuba would not give up what they have for what you, Moses and the GOUSA would wish to impose upon them .

      • Informed Consent

        …I think the obvious refutation to your comment is the irrefutable fact that Cubans (such as I) have been risking their lives in mass to flee your socialist paradise.

        It take quite a bit of desperation (and cojones) to get on a raft and brave the open Ocean to get away from all those wonderful things Cuba is offering.

        …and by the way, the only thing “imposed” on the Cuban people was the Castro’s. They certainly didn’t choose to be ruled by them for more that half a century!!

        • John Goodrich

          First off, the term is “en masse” and not in mass.
          Second -Cubans take to rafts because of the “wet foot dry foot” clause of the Cuban Adjustment Act that allows Cubans who float in illegally to Florida automatic entrance to the U.S. while simultaneously making it n both expensive and involving an 18 month wait to apply for legal emigration .
          Then there is the U.S economic war on the entire island that ensures that life will be difficult and Cubans will want to leave .
          Third, you seem to forget that Cuba’s was a popular revolution and is still supported by the overwhelming majority of Cubans
          Fourth, There is no apostrophe in the plural of Castro .
          Adding an apostrophe makes it a singular possessive .
          Fifth, Cubans have as much choice in who they chose as president as do the people in the U.S., which is very little.
          I can go into great detail on this last matter if you’d like.
          Note that no country that is under attack by a formidable enemy likes to change leadership in the middle of a conflict .

          • Informed Consent

            1st: thank you for correcting my grammar. Although I work on improving my English every day (and indeed I’ve been here a long time) it is still not my first language.

            2nd: although the Cuban Adjustment Act (wet foot/dry foot) makes it easier for a Cuban to migrate its not the reason they do so. You can’t on the one hand speak of the wonders of the revolution and all it provides its people and then dismiss all those who risk their very lives to leave the Island “en mass”, year after year, for over 5 decades!!!

            3rd: you surely have a strange definition of war. As a sovereign state the USA can choose who and who not to do business with. And the embargo is not the reason for the failure that is Cuba. You can chalk that up to the wounderous inefficiency of communist central planning.

            4th your grade school understanding of the Cuban revolution leaves much to be desired. Your popular “revolution” did indeed enjoy wide spread popular support (my own parrents included) Castro had promised to restore the 1940 constitution but unfortunately when Batista was finally overthrown decided to rule by decree instead. Both Fidel and Che have been quoted as defending a dictatorial form of government (this is your Christ head?)

            …but why bother reasoning with an anarchist, someone who has issues with the nuclear family. You’re vision of the world my friend (as seen in you comments) is very scary.

            Your final statement has been a convenient excuse for many a dictator!