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A REPORT by the NGO Prisoners Defenders assured on Thursday that the members of the Cuban medical missions, which include 650 health professionals sent to Mexico, work in conditions of “slavery” and that 80% of their salaries are stolen by the authorities of the regime.
Dita Charanzová, vice-president of the European Parliament for Latin America, and Javier Nart, first vice-president of the European Parliament Delegation for Central America (DCAM), participated in the presentation of the report through a delayed video broadcast.
“The situation of Cuban doctors is shocking, it is time for the people to know the truth, to know the other side of the Cuban international missions. Disregarding the human rights situation cannot be the price to pay for health aid or other services,” said Charanzová.
She also assured that “there is evidence” that the reality of the Cuban regime’s intentions in sending health personnel to other countries goes beyond showing solidarity.
She also said that “it is proven” that 80% of the money charged by Cuba for these missions “goes to the regime and not to the pockets of Cuban doctors”.
They also have more than a thousand testimonies of Cuban professionals abroad – not only related to doctors, but also to education or military professionals, among others – who have been subjected to “injustices such as persecution, slavery, sexual harassment, violence and separation from their families”.
For his part, Nart, a member of the European Parliament since 2014 for the Renovate Europe group, shared that when he met Cuban doctors working in other places he thought they were part of a “respected and respectable” job, but then he learned that “they were subjected to exploitation by their own country.”
“It was something that left me disgusted,” he finished.
The report, presented by Javier Larrondo, president of Prisoners Defenders, indicates that 75% of the health professionals arriving in Mexico were selected individuals, not volunteers, and that 80% of them did not know where they were going.
It also details, according to the testimonies collected, that none of them received a copy of their contract and that many were forced to sign a contract that contained a blank space where they had to indicate their salary.
Likewise, all reported being watched and having to comply with a curfew.
The presence of hundreds of Cuban doctors in hospitals in the Mexican capital hired to fight the COVID-19 pandemic aroused controversy in the country in 2020 due to their costs and the activities they performed.
While Mexico City authorities argued that their work was of vital importance given the lack of health workers in the country, medical associations denounced that Cuban doctors were privileged over Mexican doctors.
Prisioners Defenders assured that 650 Cuban doctors were sent to Mexico and that the dictator Miguel Díaz-Canel spoke about sending more additional Cuban health personnel in the meeting he held with the Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, last May in Cuba.
Editor’s note: The quotes featured in this article were originally published in Spanish, translated to English, and then edited for publication.