Cuban Slaves Sent Around the World to Fight COVID-19
30 de abril de 2020

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine who does not understand much about politics told me that she had seen on TV the arrival of 50 Cuban doctors in Italy to help the European country face the crisis they are experiencing due to the coronavirus. “They are heroes,” she said. There is a cruder, but perhaps more exact word to use. “They are slaves,” I replied.

These days, different media sources report about the arrival of Cuban “medical missions” to various parts of the world to “help” to face the pandemic. However, what most of them forget to mention is that it is actually a form of slavery. The issue has even been addressed in the UN special reports on contemporary forms of slavery and human trafficking.

The health personnel sent in these missions (as the Castroist regime prefers to call these healthcare groups that it sends abroad) are subjected to pressure and follow-up by the dictatorship during their stay outside the island. Many Cubans who have participated in these missions denounce that their phones were tapped and that any relationship they established in the host country was monitored. The places where they live, in most cases, are directly paired by the Cubans in charge of the mission (in order to better exercise control in order to avoid desertions). Going to another country does not free these men from the Castroist intelligence agencies.

It is very well true that they could escape. After all, while they are very guarded, they still are not tied up. And once they already live in another country, they can flee from their managers and not return to the hell that the island has become. It turns out that many have done so already. Between 2006 and 2017, while the parole program for Cuban medical professionals remained in force in the United States, 8,000 health workers decided to enrol and not return, starting their lives in the land of opportunity. However, making that decision is not easy when the dictatorship uses their families as hostages.

The healthcare professionals who go to the missions are forced to leave their spouses and children on the island. They are only allowed to visit them sporadically (a trip that is considered a reward for good behaviour). If their professional performance abroad does not please the Castroist dictatorship, the visit to his family is denied.

The dictatorship has planned for this scenario in such a way that if the healthcare professional decides to desert and free himself, his loved ones will end up paying the consequences back on the island. Let us not forget that in Cuba, the Castroist dictatorship manages everything, from the school a child attends to the plate of food that their citizens have on their tables every day. This makes it very easy for the dictatorship to punish the family of the deserter and, at the same time, make it clear that it is not a good idea to desert the regime.

Resigning from a mission is classified as “abandonment of a civilian workers mission,” and the Cuban Penal Code’s Article 135(1) stipulates that “the official or employee in charge of fulfilling a mission in a foreign country that abandons it, or who, once it has been completed, is required at any time for him to return and he refuses, either expressly or tacitly, to do so, he incurs a punishment of deprivation of liberty for three to eight years.” So the Cuban who decides to leave the mission will not be able to return to the island, meaning that he can never see his family again.

On the other hand, because they are held as slaves, instead of being paid a salary, they receive only the crumbs that the Castroist dictatorship feels like throwing at them. The dictatorship keeps at least 70% of the salary that the host government pays. In most cases, payment is made directly to the dictatorship and they decide how much to give to the healthcare professionals. In those few cases in which the foreign government pays doctors directly, they must give at least 70% of their earnings to the regime.

In addition, those who have managed to flee these missions denounce that the Castroist dictatorship “freezes” a part of the small salary that they plan on delivering, and these professionals can only recover it once they return to the country (although, on many occasions, they do not receive the total money that was “frozen” from them).

In 2019, upon taking office as president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro denounced the situation experienced by missionary doctors and demanded changes. “We cannot admit Cuban slaves in Brazil, nor can we continue to feed the Cuban dictatorship,” said the president, who repeated in the media that he did not understand how a Cuban doctor can be forced to abandon his children on the island when he goes to work in Brazil and only be allowed to visit them sporadically.

“It is also not fair to confiscate 70% of a person’s salary. We cannot be in league with work analogous to slavery. It is a humanitarian matter,” said the Brazilian president, who decided to put conditions in place for the Cuban dictatorship to maintain the famous missions in his country. Bolsonaro demanded, among other things, that doctors be allowed to travel with their families and that the Brazilian government be able to pay them directly in order to ensure that the Castroist dictatorship did not keep most of the money.

As expected, the Cuban dictatorship refused to meet these demands and withdrew its health personnel from Brazil. The Castroist dictatorship was not going to free its slaves and run out of the money they give to it. More than 8,000 Cuban doctors left Brazil in 2019, and 2,000 of them were later relocated to missions in Venezuela.

Brazil was not the only country in Latin America that refused to be complicit in this slavery. After the changes in government that occurred in Ecuador and Bolivia, its new presidents also cancelled their own agreements made with the Cuban dictatorship. And, in addition to constituting an act of slavery, it is widely known that within those medical missions are also infiltrators from the regime dedicated to carrying out the political, revolutionary, and intelligence-based work for the international socialist project. So, after the fall of those friends of the Castroist dictatorship in these countries, 382 Cuban doctors left Ecuador as well as 725 from Bolivia.

Unfortunately, due to the crisis caused by the pandemic and most definitely due to ignorance in some cases, more countries in recent days have become complicit in this modern act of slavery. “There are already 24 Cuban medical aid brigades destined to confront COVID-19 in the world,” Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment Rodrigo Malmierca tweeted this week.

The Castroist dictatorship takes advantage of countries who do not have enough healthcare workers to face the crisis in order to earn money at the expense of the health professionals they keep as slaves. However, since they are experts in advertising and in giving false narratives to these kinds of situations, they try to perpetuate their image as a country with an excellent healthcare system that can even afford during a crisis to send healthcare workers to other countries.

The time has come for the entire world to sharply condemn the slavery to which Cubans are subjected. It is not possible that in the West in 2020, there are countries like Italy who rent enslaved Cubans.

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