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The Cuban Doctors, The Folha de S.Paulo & Operation Vorax


“Mayors will dismiss local doctors to make way for Dilma’s [Cubans doctors]”

Along with the asylum granted a dissident Bolivian senator wanted on corruption charges — the Foreign Relations minister was fired as a result — the topic preocupying the Brazilian conservatve press at the moment is the arrival of 4,000 doctors from Cuba to work in areas chronically lacking basic medical treatment.

The Miami Herald emphasize a legal challenge to the permissibility of the Cuban 4,000.


Click to enlarge

The treatment of the program in the local press has often verged on hysterical rumor-mongering, such as the front-page headline shown above.

O Cafezinho has done a very thorough fact-check on the Folha’s story and made a jaw-dropping discovery: Among the mayors that say they will be harmed by the “More Medics” — Mais Médicos — program is a fantasically corrupt alleged pedophile from the heart of the heart of darkness. Folha has clearly committed the cardinal sin: Not knowing thy source. 

Fernando Brito has already written something on this latest farce from the Folha, whose headline tody is nothing more than a sleazy political attack on the federal initiative to increase the number of physicians per capita.

But O Cafezinho has done research of how own on the subject and calls your attention to some interesting information.

First of all, the Minister of Health has been warning for some time now that a mayor who dismisses a physician is violating an accord with the government. whose object is to increase the number of doctors per capita.

This mayor will wind up losing money because the government will cancel the contract providing for the funding of this program. In a program of this size, encompassing 5,550 municipal governments, there will naturally occur cases of this type. If there are no Brazilian doctors willing to work in the interior of Brazil, it is only natural that there  be Brazilian doctors in the interior who would rather leave, some of whom may be collecting a salary without  providing service.

The problem seems even more serious than that, in my view. I set out to investigate, one by one, all the cases cited by the Folha, in which mayors are supposedly firing doctors and replacing them with doctors assigned by the health ministry. What I ffound is that the Folha failed to hand pick the cases that strengthen its case.

Here we go.


The first case cited by the FSP is the city of Coari, deep in the Amazon. The Folha reported as follows:

“An example is Coari, inAmazonas, 421 km by boat from Manaus, where the city government pays R$ 25,000 to recently graduated doctors and R$ 35,000 for specialists.

“We have to pay this amount or else no one will accept the job. We are going to do away with some of our doctors and hire professionals from the “More Medics” program, says city health secretary Ricardo Faria.

The city will have to dismiss one of its own doctors and exchange him or her with another from the initial phase of the federal program.” 


And so I went to investigate the mayor of Coari, Adail Pinheiro, and was almost sorry I had done so. The man is the principal defendant in Operation Vorax, conducted by the federal police some years ago.

Read this excerpt from an Agência Brasil report on the case from June 2008:

“Adail Pinheiro is accused by the PF as heading a scheme responsible for diverting at last R$49 million from the public coffers. The agent in charge of the case said there was absolutely no doubt of his involvement in the corruption scheme. Pinheiro was indicted by the PF for for peculato, active corruption  criminal conspiracy, pimping, sexual assault, tax evasions and fraud on a public document The criminal conspiracy is accused of directing auctions, overbilling on public works and simulating the performance of services, all in oder to expropriate sums granted by the federal government and Petrobras with respect to oil and gas exploration in Coari.

That is to say, the mayor interviewed by the Folha is a n opportunist who diverted federal funds, as he intends to do now with the “More Medics” program.

But the scheme is even more sinister than that. Pinheiro is also a principal suspect of leading a group dedicated to the sexual exploitation of minors.

Based on an investigation parallel to Vorax …the federal legislature created a CPI into the case, presided over by federal deputy Erika Kokay (PT-DF).


“They said I would have to make way for a Cuban,” says doctor dismissed


Source: O Banzeiro

Date. May 3, 2013

Four years have gone by since the federal police operation dubbed Vorax discovered and took down a criminal organization on May 20, 2008, in Coari. The leading figure in the scheme, which rigged bids for public works and diverted federal education funds was ex-mayor Adail Pinheiro. Although the prosecutor has formally denounced Pinheiro and proved the charge based on evidence collected by the federal police, to date, none of the figures involved have been punished.

According to Case Nº 2004.32.00.006251-8 of the federal police in Amazonas, the investigation turned up a veritable assembly line for rigging public works auctions and diverting public funds from federal budget allocations and royalties paid by PETROBRAS based on the oil and gas exploration taking place in the jurisdiction. .

A former employee of the Secretaria Muncipal de Obras — the public works department — the scheme was headed by Adail Pinheiro, the mayor of Coari, with the assistance of various civil servants who were appointed to high-ranking positions in the city administration.

During Vorax, CDs were found containing documents copied from the archives in the computers installed in the public works authority of Coari. Based on this material, police identified 171 invitations and 7 (seven) pricing reports supposedly assembled by the team of the works secretary of Coari in 2003-2004. The total value of the 178 contracts analyzed by the  PR was R$ 25,228,631.88  This number, however, is far from representing the total obtained from fraudulent bidding, the police said.


The perp walk and the mountain of money: Two genres of nonfiction criminal narrative