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Cubans in the streets push back the police of the dictatorship

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Cuba in the street: What the Castro dictatorship doesn’t want the world to see

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Cuban medical slave missions, now in Mexico

The Mexican-Cuban relations since the arrival of López Obrador to the presidency surprise the most experienced observer. It is strange the naturalness with which the president of a country becomes a spokesman for the government of another country, assumes its defense and spreads its falsehoods; as if that were normal in international relations. At times the rhetoric resembles that of a protectorate and its metropolis, and it is not always clear who is who.

The history of contacts, meetings, invitations and trips—in both directions—is extensive. The last trip was by López Obrador to Cuba at the beginning of May. There he rehearsed once again the vindication of the Castro regime, offering himself as a mediator with the United States and criticizing the Biden Administration for excluding Cuba (along with Nicaragua and Venezuela) from the next Summit of the Americas.

But he also signed cooperation agreements in the area of ​​public health, particularly health emergencies, the acquisition of Cuban-made vaccines and the care of patients with COVID-19. This implies repeating the hiring of Cuban doctors, as happened in 2020 with 588 health professionals.

He underlined “health professionals”, since not all of them had the relevant qualifications of a “medical doctor”, as various professional associations pointed out at the time. This time it would be another 500 professionals to cover remote regions of the country. President López Obrador justifies it by an apparent shortage of doctors, especially in rural areas.

Which is not consistent with what international organizations report. In fact, the World Bank reports 4.8 doctors for every thousand inhabitants in Mexico. As a comparison data, in Argentina 4 doctors are reported for every thousand inhabitants, in the Netherlands this proportion is 3.5, in France 3.2, United Kingdom 2.8, Canada 2.6, USA 2.6.

Mexico’s problem, then, is not the number of doctors but, in any case, a poor health policy. And ultimately, if the shortage of doctors were true, there are philanthropic organizations that mobilize resources to provide medical care in vulnerable situations—for example, Prodie Santé and Doctors of the World—that promote human rights, not the violation of them. .

Cuban medical missions are the antithesis of the protection of rights. Staff are recruited through threats and political pressure. Refusing to be part of these tasks abroad is considered a lack of “revolutionary commitment”, with the usual consequences.

They cannot be accompanied by all members of their family. They are not given their passport and, once there, they must carry out political functions if required, propaganda and intelligence in general. Failure to do so presents risks for them and their families on the Island. And of course State Security agents are a regular part of the programs, they provide the customary espionage.

Those who join the program are not informed of their destination, its duration, or the compensation they will receive. Of the total program, only 10-15% is dedicated to the salaries of professionals, well below the salary of a doctor in the place of destination. The remaining 85% goes to the Cuban government, which makes around 8 billion dollars each year through this means.

Faced with criticism and complaints of exploitation, the Mexican government stated that they will receive the same income as Mexican doctors, although it did not report the exact amount of said payment. Hence, these missions have been classified as contemporary forms of slavery, forced labor and human trafficking by the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery and the Special Rapporteur on human trafficking, both of the United Nations.

This is based on the complaints made by the NGO Prisoners Defenders based on hundreds of interviews. This organization has also recently documented that more than 5,000 children are separated from their parents for having abandoned the missions, since the penal code considers them “deserters” and prohibits them from entering Cuba for 8 years.

Medical missions, therefore, are less about medicine and solidarity, as the official narrative posits, and more about foreign policy, social control, and the propaganda of a totalitarian regime, a 60-year dictatorship. Serving as the megaphone for this regime, the Mexican government also becomes its accomplice.


Cubans in the streets push back the police of the dictatorship

The protests of Cubans inflamed by the blackout that...

Cuba in the street: What the Castro dictatorship doesn’t want the world to see

The thousands of false promises, together with the slow...

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José Martí
José Martí
Nacionalista cubano, poeta, filósofo, ensayista, periodista, traductor, profesor y editor.

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