Shine the spotlight on a vast system "Modern slavery", who born "Must not go unpunished". Tuesday, May 14, two associations, Defenders of Cuban prisoners (CPD) and the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), announced that they lodged a complaint a week earlier in the International Criminal Court (ICC) denouncing the working conditions of Cuban doctors sent by Havana, in "International mission".
In Brazil, thousands of Cuban doctors could pack their bags
Established by the Cuban government in the 1960s, this method of temporary deployment of professionals abroad, often for periods of three years, masks indeed, according to NGOs, many abuses, economically very lucrative for the authorities from the island. In a report of 350 pages overwhelming the Cuban State for "Crimes against humanity for acts of slavery", the associations condemn in particular the drastic control and the policy of sanctions of Havana on its nationals abroad.
"Tens of thousands of people are thus forced to live in another country without access to their passports, and while intelligence agents control them and the majority of their income is confiscated by the Cuban government," lamented Tuesday, May 14, Luis Almagro, the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), which hosted that day a conference of said associations.
Control and repression
Family separation for years, threats, harassment, political indoctrination, recruitment under pressure … Alarmist, the text, also sent to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the World Health Organization (WHO) , details them "Submission and repression measures" taken by the government. In this way, he directly receives the salaries of doctors for their services abroad, from which he then deducts "Between 75 to 89%" the amount.
And if a professional decides to give up his mission on the way, he faces a prison term of three to eight years in his native country. If he is caught in the act of desertion, or if he does not represent himself in his post, he is still exposed to an eight-year ban on the island.
In Cuba, doctors are exporting well
Highly qualified, this lucrative workforce continues, through this well-honed system, to mass export (1), and enjoys a high reputation. To the point of having become today an essential tool of Cuban diplomacy. Care provided during the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, deployment of teams after the earthquake in Haiti, or after the start of the Venezuelan crisis …
"Far from seeking to represent a philanthropic interest or cultural exchange – as defended by the Cuban government – it meets the most important economic need for the survival of the regime", the associations, which also estimate the annual income of this "Pipeline" to 8 billion dollars (7.1 billion euros), far ahead of the tourist one.
A "slanderous" procedure
Havana quickly responded to allegations against it. "The contribution to humanity of our health professionals is invaluable. The love of the people is the greatest reward. No more lies, " responded on Twitter Rogelio Sierra, the deputy foreign minister, going so far as to describe 'Ridiculous' a media procedure dedicated to "Slander Cuba and undermine its solidarity cooperation". In addition, the authorities justify their wage levy policy by the need to finance free education and health on the island.
Does this filing of a complaint have any chance of succeeding before the ICC, while Cuba is not a signatory of the Rome Statute? On Monday 13 May, the prosecutor's office of the international body emphasized that its examination did not mean the opening of an investigation. But associative claimants argue that the Court would have jurisdiction over "Crimes against humanity" attributed to the Cuban authorities, insofar as the latter would have occurred – and would continue to occur – in its States Parties.
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