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Brazil threatens to cut diplomatic ties with Cuba

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Jair Bolsonaro, far-right lawmaker and presidential candidate of the Social Liberal Party (PSL), looks on as he arrives to cast his vote, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil October 28, 2018. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazilian far-right president-elect Jair Bolsonaro said there was no point maintaining diplomatic relations with Cuba because it trampled on human rights and there was no business to be done with the communist-run island.

In an interview published on Friday by Correio Braziliense newspaper, Mr Bolsonaro criticized the Mais Medicos (More Doctors) programme under which 11,420 Cuban doctors work in poor or remote parts of Brazil.

He said that 75 percent of the doctors’ salaries was paid to Cuba’s government and their children were not allowed to join them in Brazil, citing the case of a doctor whose three young children had to stay in Cuba.

Mr Bolsonaro, who was elected last week, takes office on January 1 and promises the biggest shift in Brazilian foreign policy in decades.

He will seek closer relations with the US and confirmed on Thursday that he plans to follow US President Donald Trump’s lead and move Brazil’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

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