Cuba’s doctors got a big pay raise Friday — to 64 dollars a month, the official Communist Party newspaper Granma said.
The hike in pay from $25 a month was to reward health professionals for being the country’s top source of hard currency export earnings.
President Raul Castro last month rejected pay increases for other state workers, but said they were justified for doctors, dentists and nurses “because at the moment the country’s main income is due to the work of thousands of doctors overseas.”
Some 50,000 Cuban doctors and health specialists work in 66 countries.
They bring in $8.2 billion a year into state coffers. The value of Cuban exports, by comparison, totals only $5 billion a year.
Cuban doctors earn far more serving overseas than they do at home, but the lion’s share of their salaries goes to the government.
In Brazil last month, a Cuban doctor asked for asylum after learning that she would receive only $1,000 dollars of her $4,000 salary — with the balance going to Cuban authorities.
Take home pay for the more than 11,000 Cuban doctors in Brazil was raised to the equivalent of $1,245 after the incident.
Granma said the pay hike announced Friday would “contribute to the stability and quality of medical services to the public, while also meeting international commitments.”