The Government of the United States kept Cuba on its “black list” of human trafficking on Tuesday, after considering that the island does not comply with the standards set by US law against this phenomenon.
The list was published this Tuesday in the State Department’s 2022 Trafficking in Persons Report, which reviews the situation worldwide every year. Cuba had been included for the first time in that report in June 2019.
Cuba is on the “black list” along with 19 other countries, such as Venezuela, Nicaragua, China, North Korea, Syria, Iran, Russia and Belarus.
The report says that “despite a lack of significant efforts,” the island government has taken some steps to address human trafficking, such as investigating, prosecuting and convicting traffickers.
However, during the period studied there was a “government policy or benefit pattern” of the export programs for workers “with strong indications” of forced labor, such as the Cuban medical missions in other countries.
In this regard, the United States assures that Havana “continued to deploy Cuban workers in foreign countries using deceptive and coercive tactics” and without addressing “labor violations and trafficking crimes.”
Washington accuses Havana of not informing the participants in these programs about the terms of their contracts, which varied from country to country, and have ranged from confiscating their passports, professional credentials and salaries, to threatening health professionals and their relatives if they left those missions.
The US notes that the Cuban government has not reported making any law enforcement efforts to combat human trafficking.
Of the Latin American countries, the most convincing report is that of Venezuela, a country that “absolutely does not meet the minimum standards to eliminate trafficking and is not making any effort to do so.”
The US Department of State reports that the regime of Nicolás Maduro “has not reported any type of help to the victims of this phenomenon, nor of efforts to prosecute traffickers,” and the Venezuelan Executive “continued to provide support and maintained a permissive environment for non-state armed groups that recruited and used child soldiers for armed conflict and collaborated in sex trafficking and forced labor while operating with impunity.”
Despite these complaints, says the report, Venezuelan government representatives did not make “sufficient efforts” to stop the recruitment of non-state armed groups.
For its part, with respect to Nicaragua, the report explains that the Executive of President Daniel Ortega has “minimized” the seriousness of this phenomenon, despite having carried out some measures to address it, such as the prosecution and conviction of four drug traffickers. people for sexual exploitation.
The Nicaraguan authorities have not provided shelters or allocated funds to help the victims, says the State Department document, which also considers the efforts carried out to stop the trafficking of workers “insignificant”, although it has continued to be “a concern”. serious”.
Likewise, Nicaragua has not reported any investigation, prosecution, or conviction of government employees complicit in “trafficking offenses” in human beings, despite “endemic corruption and the widespread complicity of officials,” nor has it cooperated with NGOs that protect the victims, adds the report.