Cuba’s Slave Trade in Doctors: Havana Earns Almost $8 Billion a Year Off the Backs of the Health Workers it Sends to Poor Countries 1

Mary Anastasia O’Grady

Mary Anastasia O’Grady

By Mary Anastasia O’Grady, Wall Street Journal

Western cultures don’t approve of human trafficking, which the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines as “organized criminal activity in which human beings are treated as possessions to be controlled and exploited.” Yet it’s hard to find any journalist, politician, development bureaucrat or labor activist anywhere in the world who has so much as batted an eye at the extensive human-trafficking racket now being run out of Havana. This is worth more attention as Cuban doctors are being celebrated for their work in Africa during the Ebola crisis.

Cuba is winning accolades for its international “doctor diplomacy,” in which it sends temporary medical professionals abroad—ostensibly to help poor countries battle disease and improve health care. But the doctors are not a gift from Cuba. Havana is paid for its medical missions by either the host country, in the case of Venezuela, or by donor countries that send funds to the World Health Organization. The money is supposed to go to Cuban workers’ salaries. But neither the WHO nor any host country pays Cuban workers directly. Instead the funds are credited to the account of the dictatorship, which by all accounts keeps the lion’s share of the payment and gives the worker a stipend to live on with a promise of a bit more upon return to Cuba.

It’s the perfect crime: By shipping its subjects abroad to help poor people, the regime earns the image of a selfless contributor to the global community even while it exploits workers and gets rich off their backs. According to DW, Germany’s international broadcaster, Havana earns some $7.6 billion annually from its export of health-care workers.

This is big business, which if it weren’t being carried out by gangster Marxists would surely offend journalists. Instead they lap it up. In an Oct. 24 interview with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour lighted up when she talked about Cuba’s health-care workers in Africa. “Cuba clearly has something to teach the world in its rapid response, doesn’t it,” Ms. Amanpour gushed. Mr. Kim agreed, calling it “a wonderful gesture.”

What the Cuban workers in the line of the Ebola fire are being paid remains a state secret. But human trafficking is not new for Havana nor is it limited to the medical profession. In October 2008 a federal judge in Miami ruled in favor of three Cuban workers who claimed they, along with some 100 others, had been sent by the regime to Curaçao to work off Cuban debt to the Curaçao Drydock Company. The plaintiffs described horrific working conditions for which they were paid three cents an hour.

Feature continues here: Medical Slave Trade 


One comment

  1. Well,well, it seems like Mary Anastasia O´Grady at the Wall Street Journal is so enthralled by what she believes and wrote about is freshly discovered news–inside her recently published story in the WSJ about Cuban Doctors working for the Cuban government–that she´s gone as far as twisting (spining) it out of what is the real world perspective and what actually constitutes to be the reality, worldwide, of professionals when working for any government. However, in her false story, she attributes this worldwide reality as a unique professional employment predicament of the Cuban government while simultaneously–falsely labelling it–“Human Trafficking”. It has nothing to do with it. To have permitted this article to be published–of all places in the Wall Street Journal–is as though the lunatics have taken over the insane asylum.

    Let´s examine. By comparison, another professional group, the United States Armed Forces employs–not just five thousand members of a profesional sector such as the medical professional the Cuban government sent to Africa–but rather a U.S, military force,of one million profesional members. Such profesional members, employed by the government of the United States, are exposed to put thier life on the line of fire–the kind of “fire” that kills by gunshot or wounds by gunshot, or mortar power, or small missile fire or terrorist explosive articraft–all of this life threatning conditions–for a measely starting salary of $18,378. That compensation level of $18,378 is way, way, less than the U.S. national median average income of $43,041.39. And, mind you, not for a full day´s work of an eight-hour workday only, but, for a 24 hour around the clock service to the U.S. government. Including in that service provided for a measely conpensation of $18,378 as far as even having to go into a false war in Irak to chase “arms of massive destruction”, which by the way, weren´t found. This, in comparison to a Cuban medical resident doctor who is not directly exposed to being killed in a line of fire power, for having the professional opportunity to practice a medical internship as a peaceful practicing professional–not in a life threatning event–however, with a low income provided as a gainful and initial professional employment position, as many medical residents are paid anywhere in the world–NOT JUST CUBA–including in the United States, even when compared to the compensation of the rest of the working population. Now common, Ms. O´Grady, you can do better than that, attempting to insult the intelligence of the reader regarding what is an issue of a worldwide reality of government employment and compensation factors. Say the truth and don´t twist it or spin it when put into a real world perspective versus what you wrote. You, Ms. O´Grady, not only failed to do the math, but you failed to factor the consequences of being paid versus the risks involved for such compensation in different scenarios.

    Now, according to the BLS the average compensation of a resident medical profesional in the U.S. is $41,526. That is still less than the average median income in the U.S. and much less as compared to a young person empoyed on Wall Street–for instance, who doesn´t have a job saving lives, but instead a job of doing financial transactions which many times have destroyed American lives as in the recent derivatives financial debacle of worldwide permutation that destroyed the lives of amny Americans and their dreams of owning a home, conerestone to the preservation of the “American Dream”. Factor that too. Likewise, the compensation in Canada, for instance is of a medical resident is C$27,000 and in UK it varies dependng the age of the medical resident, but it goes as low as 18,000 pounds. Compare those compensation levels of medical residents to the balance of the population. Now tell me Ms. O´Grady isn´t this the truth you failed to examine because you–perhaps–have an agenda to write about, instead of writing about the world´s reality of government compensation in specialized sectors of professional employment such as medical residency, armed forces etc, etc.. Just, please, don´t call it “Human Trafficking” because nobody was forced to take those specialized jobs, many times–virtually all–the training provided for free by the government. Sex is certainly not a factor here, or organ extraction etc., which are the key factors of what truly constitutes 90% of the “Huamn Trafficking” events on a worldwide basis.

    I believe your article, when placed in reality is worthless and an outright lie. Those medial residents are there working fo the Cuabn government because they chose to be there when they first decided to study medicine in Cuba for free provided by the government–as nowhere else in the world (try studying medicne in the United States see how much that costs)–and then after serving their government, many will perhaps choose to leave Cuba and go somewhere else to practice, many, many others to stay.But taking that scenario, as you did in your false story and then calling it “Human Trafficking” is like as true as I telling you that you´re “Trafficking News”.

    The worst part of your false story, Ms. O´Grady is your “selective arbitration” in telling your side of a story of the worldwide practice to compensate a sector or group of specialized professionals employed by many governments on a worldwide basis–and not just the government of Cuba–and falsely calling it a “Human Trafficking” event. Nothing could be further from the truth. When you work for any government as a member of a force or a specialized group, you go wherever that government employer sends you. That´s just the way it is. Or isn´t it? Tell the truth.

    I hope President Obama ends the Cuban trade embargo real soon. Then you can write about how Cuba became the new industrialized and commercialized Japan of the world, yet, having a population that speaks the same language as the second most spoken language in the U.S.

    Have a nice day.

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