Cuban doctor shot to death at Mexico hospital

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A Cuban doctor has been shot to death at a hospital in a rough neighborhood on the outskirts of Mexico City, prosecutors in the State of Mexico confirmed late Monday.

The doctor, whose name was not provided, was killed Friday along with a nurse and another woman at a hospital in the suburb of Ecatepec.

The killing comes after criticism of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s plan to hire hundreds of Cuban doctors to work where Mexican doctors aren’t available, or in areas where they don’t want to work because they are too dangerous or remote.

The Cuban doctor killed in Ecatepec apparently arrived in Mexico some time ago and was not part of the current hiring program. However, his death raised the question of whether some areas of Mexico are too dangerous for the Cuban doctors, as well.

A woman who identified herself as the victim’s sister wrote in her Facebook account that the dead man was Ernesto Oliva Legra.

Prosecutors in the State of Mexico, which borders Mexico City, said two armed men entered the hospital in the early morning hours of Friday and asked for a female patient at the reception desk.

Being unable to locate her, the gunmen then forced the receptionist too open the door to a second-floor medical area, where they opened fire, killing the nurse and another woman, and wounding the doctor.

The doctor died later of his wounds at another hospital. Local media said the other victim was a woman who had been visiting a relative undergoing treatment.

Mexican gangs have been known to enter hospitals at gunpoint to finish off wounded rivals, and Mexico has also seen a wave of violence against medical personnel.

In July, medical school graduates and residents demonstrated across the country to protest the July 15 shooting death of 24-year-old Erick David Andrade in the northern state of Durango as he was treating a patient.

He was days away from finishing the mandatory term of barely paid “social service” required of Mexican med school graduates before starting an internship or residency.

On July 11, an anesthesiologist for a rural government hospital was shot to death at her home in the neighboring state of Chihuahua.

In July 2021, a doctor was killed on a highway near Jerez, Zacatecas, after she apparently failed to stop at a drug gang’s checkpoint. That same month two paramedics were murdered while transporting a patient in the same violence-plagued northern state.

Critics have also filed injunctions against the plan to hire more than 500 specialized doctors from Cuba, over 100 of whom have already arrived and are working in the western states of Nayarit and Colima.

The injunction claims the government has not proved the doctors have the ability or training needed to practice in Mexico, and argued that most of the doctors’ pay might go to the Cuban government, not the medical professionals themselves.

On Tuesday, López Obrador defended the program, saying Mexico didn’t have enough specialists.

“It is absurd, irrational for people to question the fact that Cuban specialist doctors are coming to Mexico in solidarity with us,” the president said.

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