WSJ: Cuba’s Slave Trade in Doctors

According to Mary Anastasia O’Grady in The 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.”

The article continues by claiming that “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 is considered to be a “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.”

To read the full article in the WSJ, click here.

Photo: Yusnaby Pérez