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Cuban doctors start to leave Brazil

November 22, 2018
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A Cuban doctor holding Brazilian and Cuban flags takes a selfie before she and other Cuban physicians return home at the airport in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018. Cuba announced it is recalling the physicians in the "More Doctors" program after Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro said the program could continue only if doctors get their full pay directly rather from the Cuban government and are able to bring their families with them. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — A first batch of departing Cuban doctors is leaving Brazil as the countries wind down a program that sent more than 8,000 Cuban doctors to parts of Brazil where medical services are scarce.

Cuba is recalling the doctors rather than meet conditions imposed by Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, who takes office Jan. 1. He said the program could continue only if doctors’ pay isn’t channeled through the Cuban government and if they could bring their families.

The doctors generally receive a fraction of the salary paid to the Cuban government.

The first two flights of returning doctors are scheduled to arrive in Havana early Friday.

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