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Cuba’s slave labor ‘diplomacy’

In Foreign Policy, Elias Groll addresses the Cuban dictatorship's practice of trafficking in slave labor; in particular, the sale of enslaved physicians to foreign governments. Interestingly enough, Groll characterizes this vile and inhumane practice as "diplomacy":

Cuba's greatest export? Medical diplomacy

What can an impoverished island nation -- one isolated by the United States and lacking natural resources of its own -- do to secure its influence in the world and earn hard currency? In Cuba's case, the answer lies in its medical corps.

On Monday, Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota announced that his country is in negotiations to hire some 6,000 Cuban doctors to come work in rural areas of Brazil. The plan highlights what has become a cornerstone of Cuban foreign policy and its export economy. Since the Cuban revolution in 1959, the country has aggressively exported its doctors around the world -- sometimes for humanitarian reasons, sometimes for cash -- and has garnered a reputation as a provider of health care to the world's neediest countries.

What makes Groll's characterization of Cuba's slave labor practice as diplomacy all the more puzzling is that his own description of the practice clearly shows the Castro regime is guilty of this heinous crime against humanity:

We hear a lot about Cuban cigars, but tobacco is far from Cuba's most important export. In 2006, 28 percent, or $2.3 billion, of Cuba's total export earnings came from medical services, according to a study by Julie Feinsilver. As a rough measure of comparison, Cuba's cigar exports totaled $215 million in 2011.

So the Castro dictatorship sells the labor of enslaved Cuban doctors who are deprived of the most basic human rights to the highest bidder. These doctors have no choice where they are sent and are used as chattel to generate revenue for a repressive totalitarian dictatorship. Yet, Groll calls this "diplomacy."

And people still wonder how the Castro dictatorship has managed to stay in power for more than a half-century. With people like Groll whitewashing their atrocities, they may stay in power for another fifty years.

2 comments to Cuba’s slave labor ‘diplomacy’

  • asombra

    "An impoverished island nation--one isolated by the United States." That's all I need to see to know the writer's full of it, or at best a useful idiot. Impoverished by whom? It certainly wasn't anywhere near as poor before Castro took over, now was it? Isolated? Please. It's not even worth refuting such disingenuosness. As for Castro, Inc. doing anything for humanitarian reasons, again, PLEASE. Talk about embarrassing (or maybe just perverse).

  • [...] we read how Foreign Policy's Elias Groll inexplicably characterized the Cuban dictatorship's well-documented practice of selling [...]