Are Cuban doctors slaves or spies? The question has become key for Mexico, because López Obrador is flirting more and more openly with the communist dictatorship in Havana, and as time goes by it becomes clear that the friendship of both governments goes far beyond the mere courtesy customary in international relations. There is “groundswell” here. Let’s see:
Last year he brought Cuban dictator Díaz-Canel to Mexico as his special guest for the parade in celebration of the anniversary of Mexican independence, and in early May President López Obrador kept the romance alive with a state visit to Havana, where he declared that “I do not bet, nor will I bet on the failure of the Cuban revolution, on its legacy of justice and its lessons of independence and dignity.”
Possessed by this socialist infatuation, Obrador added that he will never “participate with coup plotters who conspire against the ideals of equality and universal fraternity” and that he maintains “the hope that the revolution will reborn in the revolution, that the revolution will be able to renew itself.” And in return for his flattery, Cuba will send hundreds of its doctors to Mexico, supposedly out of pure kindness. Is it true?
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Cuban doctors, slaves or spies?
To begin with, these so-called doctors are not paid directly for their efforts. That money goes to the dictatorship in Havana, which in turn transfers a minimal part of that amount to them. In other words, by paying for the 500 doctors that Cuba will send to Mexico, López Obrador’s government will be directly financing the worst tyranny on the continent, which also reaps the benefits of the publicity impact of its alleged solidarity.
Meanwhile, Cuban doctors work under conditions that may well qualify as of slavery, and this has even been explained by the United Nations, which in 2019 directly stated, through a report by its Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, that: “The working conditions reported could be classified as forced labor, according to the indicators of forced labor established by the International Labor Organization. Forced labor constitutes a contemporary form of slavery.”
Yes, slavery, because in the same document, it is added that “many professionals reported receiving regular threats from Cuban state officials in the destination countries.” Basically, the “doctors” are forced to go, receive threats, are not paid accordingly and essentially function as slave labor for the dictatorship.
And those who do not go as slaves often travel directly as spies or, in any case, work as political organizers at the service of Havana’s interests, turning the clinics into spaces for indoctrination and mobilization for the regime. This is what they did in Venezuela.
And then, what about medical care? At least in the case of the Cuban “doctors” who came to Mexico during the beginning of the pandemic, there was never a clear record of their professional qualifications or the work they performed during their visit. In fact, PAN Senator Julen Rementería explained in an interview with El American, that the Mexican government paid almost $13 million dollars (255 million pesos) to the Cuban dictatorship in exchange for “doctors” with no qualifications to support them as such.
In short, the arrival of the “doctors” sent by the Castro-Chavez dictatorship will be, in the least bad scenario, a pretext for the Mexican government to launder the money it gives to Cuba. In the worst case scenario, it would mean the arrival of an army of political operators at the service of the regime. In either scenario, Obrador’s alliance with the Cuban dictator is unhealthy for Mexico and toxic for the entire region.
Gerardo Garibay Camarena, is a doctor of law, writer and political analyst with experience in the public and private sectors. His new book is "How to Play Chess Without Craps: A Guide to Reading Politics and Understanding Politicians" // Gerardo Garibay Camarena es doctor en derecho, escritor y analista político con experiencia en el sector público y privado. Su nuevo libro es “Cómo jugar al ajedrez Sin dados: Una guía para leer la política y entender a los políticos”