More than 600 Cuban doctors, who escaped from the communist nation’s system of medical slavery, joined as witnesses to a global denunciation before the International Criminal Court (ICC) this week against the communist regime in Cuba. The report presented to the court details various human rights abuses that the professionals suffered.

Cuban Prisoners Defenders, an NGO that advocates for the victims of the Communist Party of Cuba, presented on Aug. 24 before the ICC and the United Nations a detailed report as an extension of a previous denunciation, which resulted in the United Nations, on Nov. 6, 2019, issued a harsh Letter of Accusation against Cuba for slavery and forced labor.

The report documented information provided by 622 health professionals, who escaped from the Cuban system, and who provided their services in about 29 countries.

Among the charges included in the report are: 

  • Strong pressure from the Communist Party of Cuba on health professionals to participate in international missions
  • Absence of a labor contract that allows workers to know their real working conditions and their rights
  • The money contributed by the host country for the service provided is delivered directly to the Communist Party of Cuba, which is responsible for paying the professional a salary that generally ranges between 5 and 20 percent of the contribution
  • The hourly load of the doctors is around 64 hours per week, including Saturdays and Sundays 
  • Restricted freedom of movement of doctors in host countries, controlled under surveillance by government officials
  • Limited right to privacy due to permanent control over professionals, including communication, personal relationships established with local and foreign citizens 
  • Vacations to return to Cuba are limited to once a year and only in cases where the worker was rewarded for good performance, being repeatedly prohibited
  • In case the professional decides to retire from his work abroad to return to Cuba, he is automatically qualified as a “traitor to the homeland,” which is punishable by three to eight years of imprisonment

The denunciations also include practices that are directly detrimental to the host countries. The doctors’ accusations include repeated occasions when they were forced by the Communist Party of Cuba to destroy medicines instead of giving them to patients, with the aim of falsifying the real number of people the health system was treating. There are also numerous reports of cases in which they were forced to manipulate statistical data on the number of internees, deaths, and treatments. 

Paradoxically, these practices occurred on several occasions in countries such as Venezuela, where it is stipulated that medicine shortages have reached 85%, as recently reported in an article by Breitbart.

The report also points against the World Health Organization (WHO) and its regional subsidiary, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) helped negotiate an agreement between Cuba and Brazil for the incorporation of hundreds of doctors as part of the controversial system “Mais Médicos” (“more doctors”), launched under the mandate of the convicted ex president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

As reported by Breitbart, dozens of doctors who deserted in Brazil organized themselves and presented a lawsuit about the PAHO in 2018 for complicity and collaboration with slave labor. From the report, it was found that the role of the PAHO in the agreement allowed Brazil to avoid sanctions against Cuba.

The current conservative president, Jair Bolsonaro, put an end to Brazil’s agreement with Cuba and has denounced in the United Nations General Assembly, the WHO’s parent organization, for being an accomplice and participant in slave labor.

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