Cuba’s government has dropped its refusal to let a prominent physician visit her family abroad, Argentina’s government announced Friday. The measure resolves one of the few disputes between the two countries.
President Cristina Fernandez announced that Cuban officials told her that Dr. Hilda Molina had been given permission to leave Cuba for Argentina and she expressed “much satisfaction” at the decision.
Her left-leaning administration has had warm relations with communist Cuba.
Argentine news media has given extensive attention to Molina’s struggle to see the grandchildren who were born to her son and her Argentine daughter-in-law after they left Cuba in 1994.
International human rights groups for years have lobbied the Cuban government to give Molina permission to leave. Washington-based Human Rights Watch in February featured Molina’s case among examples of Cuba denying exit visas to several categories of applicants, including health care professionals.
While Cuba has sent thousands of doctors abroad on official aid missions, it restricts individual foreign travel by physicians, arguing that it has made too heavy investment in training them to see them freely emigrate for higher salaries elsewhere.
Molina was a prominent neurosurgeon at a government institution until 1994, when she resigned after questioning the ethics of using human stem cell tissue in studies on treating ailments such as Parkinson’s disease.
That same year her son Roberto Quinones left the country with his Argentine wife.
Daughter-in-law Veronica de Quinones told Argentine cable channel Todo Noticias that she did not know if Molina would stay in Argentina or return to Cuba.
Molina’s son told Radio 10 that new news “surprised all the family with great joy, because it something we have wanted for many years.”