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GAESA Accused by OCAC of Misappropriating $69.8 Billion: Cuban Healthcare in Crisis

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Olalekan Adigun
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GAESA Accused by OCAC of Misappropriating $69.8 Billion: Cuban Healthcare in Crisis

In a startling revelation, the Cuban Military Business Conglomerate, GAESA, is under scrutiny for allegedly misappropriating a staggering $69.8 billion. This considerable sum, according to the Cuban Observatory of Social Audit (OCAC), was siphoned off from the salaries of international medical brigades. Contrary to the Cuban regime's announcements, this money was not reinvested in the national health system.

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Disparity in Investment and Deterioration of Healthcare

The OCAC report sheds light on the glaring disparity in the allocation of funds. Over the past 13 years, it revealed that the Cuban regime allocated an amount 13 times greater for hotel construction than it did for the healthcare sector. This imbalance has had a profound impact on Cuba's healthcare system, which has been in a state of serious decline.

Indicative of this is the 32% drop in the number of hospitals from 2007 to 2018. More tellingly, all rural hospitals have been closed since 2011. The healthcare personnel count has also seen a substantial dip, with a reduction of over 31,000 in just one year from 2021 to 2022.

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Medicine Shortages Doubling Since 2020

Adding to the healthcare woes, Cuba has seen a doubling of medicine shortages since 2020. A survey conducted on the availability of medicines indicated that nearly half of the respondents found it extremely difficult to obtain essential medications. The OCAC's investigation discovered shortages of vital medications across 15 provinces.

OCAC's Recommendations for Fiscal and Public Scrutiny

In light of these findings, the OCAC has recommended that GAESA, the Ministry of Public Health, and other related entities open their books for a thorough fiscal and public scrutiny. It has also called for an immediate reimbursement to the health security system for the funds that were diverted between 2009 and 2022.

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