HEALTH

Cuba will limit travel for doctors to stop brain drain it blames on U.S.

CARACAS, VENEZUELA - NOVEMBER 28:  Cuban doctors work in a free health care clinic named "Mission Inside the Barrio" November 28, 2006 in Caracas, Venezuela. President Hugo Chavez is widely popular in the poor barrios of Caracas due to his socialist efforts to assist the impoverished with missions offering free health care with doctors from Cuba as well as other services. Chavez faces off against challenger Manuel Rosales in the December 3 presidential elections.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

CARACAS, VENEZUELA - NOVEMBER 28: Cuban doctors work in a free health care clinic named "Mission Inside the Barrio" November 28, 2006 in Caracas, Venezuela. President Hugo Chavez is widely popular in the poor barrios of Caracas due to his socialist efforts to assist the impoverished with missions offering free health care with doctors from Cuba as well as other services. Chavez faces off against challenger Manuel Rosales in the December 3 presidential elections. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)  (2006 Getty Images)

The Cuban government says it is reimposing a hated travel permit requirement on many doctors, requiring them to get permission to leave the country in an attempt to counter a brain drain that it publicly blames on the United States.

It is the first major reverse in Cuba's policy of allowing unrestricted travel for its citizens, put in place in 2012 as President Raul Castro allowed new freedoms as part of a broad set of social and economic reforms.

The government announced on the front page of state media Tuesday that doctors in specialties that have been drained by large-scale emigration in recent years will now be required to get permission from Health Ministry officials in order to leave the country.

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