Uncle Sam Screws Cuban Doctors

Or so it appears, please contact the White House and your representatives; this is terrible.


Defecting Cubans stranded in Colombia
By Joshua Goodman

At least 38 Cuban doctors who defected from a mission in Venezuela have been stranded for months in Colombia, where they have been refused refugee status as they await word on possible asylum in the United States, according to a relief organization.

The doctors are stranded despite a shift in U.S. policy, announced in August, that Cuban medical personnel working abroad would be allowed into the United States once routine background checks were made.

But most of the defecting doctors who reached Colombia have been waiting as long as six months for a response, according to an advocacy group in Miami and several doctors who spoke to The Associated Press. At least two have been rejected by U.S. officials.

Julio Cesar Alfonso, president of the Miami-based relief organization Solidarity Without Borders, said his three-year-old organization has provided economic and legal assistance to 38 Cuban doctors trying to leave Colombia. He estimates the overall number of defected doctors here could exceed 100.

“There’s no explanation for the delay — these applications should’ve taken a maximum two or three months,” said Alfonso, a Cuban-trained physician who himself immigrated to the United States seven years ago.

Read the AP story at Yahoo News.

I was rushed this morning, and didn’t have time to provide contact information. Scott quite graciously provided the links in a comment. Thank you Scott!

U. S. Embassy in Caracas has a “contact us” link, Here.

U.S Department of State has a “contact us” link: Here

Citizenship and Immingration Service: Here.

Contact your U. S. Representative: Here.

And your Senator: Here.

14 thoughts on “Uncle Sam Screws Cuban Doctors”

  1. The reason is simple, its not an election year. I expect that they will be helped before Nov 08. Just in time for eithe party to offer its every four year tidbit to us Cuban Americans.

  2. Who should we be calling? …writing letters to? I’m going to start with my congressional office and Senate, but if anyone knows whether it would be effective to call anyone else, please list it here in the comments.

  3. How exactly is the U.S. government “screwing” Cuban doctors? The reason Cubans are given an automatic green card when they come here is because they are fleeing a totalitarian regime that persecutes them. In other words they Cubans that flee Cuba and raft here are allowed to stay because of human rights violations not because all Cubans have an inherent right to reside in the United States.

    If the doctors have already reached Colombia then they can no longer claim political asylum. They are coming to America for economic reasons not human rights violations. That makes them no different from the Mexicans flooding over our southern border.

  4. We should also be writing and calling about the thousands of political prisoners inside Cuba who have been given the green light to leave Cuba for the U.S. but yet are waiting up to 3 years for the U.S. to process their applications. They’ll usually go through a 3 step interview process but it takes approx. 1 year between interviews. The U.S. cries that Cuba should release their political prisioners but yet drag their feet in processing their paperwork. Its’ ridiculous!!!

  5. Mike.Hunter:

    Here’s the difference between Mexicans and the Cuban doctors in Colombia: Mexicans enjoy all the rights of citizens in their own country, the Cubans are denied those rights in Venezuela, Colombia, and, of course, their own country. This is what differentiates all Cubans refugees from Mexicans migrants.

    Every Cuban on the island has his human rights violated by the Castro regime. If that is your criterion for admission to the U.S. then every Cuban qualifies except those who actually violate their rights. In fact, there is even a U.S. law that codifies this principle: The Cuban Adjustment Act (1966), which had been continually violated by both the Clinton and Bush administrations.

  6. I think the big thing on Uncle Sam’s part is trying to be sure the defectors are genuine, and not spies. After all, that Bolivarian Youth group’s leader’s dad came on the Mariel boatlift, remember?

    castro has either been jacking with that process, lengthening the background check (and sure as we don’t check, that’s how the regime will send spies) or has been jerking the Americans around for interviews.

    That’s my guess.

  7. “Mexicans enjoy all the rights of citizens in their own country”

    But the Cubans in question aren’t in their own country so this point is basically null.

    “the Cubans are denied those rights in Venezuela, Colombia, and, of course, their own country. This is what differentiates all Cubans refugees from Mexicans migrants.”

    Colombia isn’t an authoritarian dictatorship. The Cuban doctors are being extended all the rights afforded to Colombian nationals (their case is being decided by Colombian courts). So the doctors should have no claim to enter the United States because of political persecution they have reached a safe third country. If they wish to enter the United States it is because of economic reasons.

    That being said although I’m against the migration of Cuban doctors in principal I don’t mind it in practice. Most of those doctors will go on to get certified by the AMA and if we increase the amount of doctors then it will introduce competition into the market place and drive medical costs down.

    But don’t claim that the United States government is “screwing” Cubans (didn’t Ziva call me “un-American” a few days ago for disagreeing with government policy). We have the most friendly immigration policy towards Cubans in the world and our government has been sympathetic to the exile cause even when it goes against our national interests.

  8. Mike,

    The U.S. government has a terminal debt to all freedom-loving Cubans stuck under that dictatorship.

    They promised to assist them, and after they landed to free their country in 1961, double-crossed with no air supportthem leaving them stranded to the mercy of Castro and his goons.

    This not only served to begin the demise of U.S. power and resolve in the eyes of the world for the remaining years of the 20th century, but also caused the strengthening of the Castro tyranny, the eventual placement of nuclear missles in front of our shores, and the seeds for all the anti-Americanism that flourishes to this day in our own hemisphere.

    So, the United States has two options to redress this disaster:

    1) Gather all the Cubans and Cuban Americans that want to fight to bring democracy to Cuba, and plan it right this time. Train them, give them all the equiment they need, and let them go in and fight to take down that government.

    2) Re-instate the assylum procedures that were in place for Cuban refugees prior to instituting that dreaded abortion of an assylum policy called “wet foot dry foot”.

  9. I think they should be able to come here if they want, but there is A LOT to say for being able to stay in Colombia, the most improved economy in all Latin America. It’s a good place, and Bogota is the safest city in South America, they just got the job done there. President Uribe is top of the line and he hates castro. If the Cuban doctors come here, it’s gonna be a hard road for them. I investigated this, it takes AT LEAST three years to get recredentialed in the US and that’s if you already have all the money for school that you need and know English. Last year, only 100 Cuban doctors were able to complete this process. I think Colombia is a very viable alternative and the doctors will not have to work gruellingly hard to get recredentialed, won’t need as much money, will be in with Spanish-speaking people who UNDERSTAND WELL what communism is, and all its evil, and will flourish pretty quickly. If they want to come here, they should be able to come here, but they should not snub Colombia, which also offers a lot of opportunities. They’re not in the middle of Kazakstan, in other words. Colombia is a good place.

  10. LaConchita: You are totally right about your history of US involvement and promises in Cuba and I agree with you. But I would want to add that the Cuban doctors who defected are people who DID collaborate with the regime. I spoke to a chief of Miami hospital during my research whose job was to recredential Cuban doctors who fled here, and he said that the problem was not Cuban medical education but THE QUALITY OF THE PEOPLE who became doctors. These castro doctors were people selected for medical school EXPLICITLY because of their loyalty to the castro regime. They went along with castro, they joined the repudiation mobs and they landed the prized postings abroad. A real dissident inside Cuba gets none of these privileges. A castro doctor making $200 Chavez bucks a month (as opposed to $18 in Cuba) is already someone the regime trusts because they’ve given it a reason to trust them. To be honest, I’d rather let in the real dissidents who’ve suffered under castrodom, had repudiation squads abuse them, been thrown into jail for preventative measures, than people who have collaborated with the regime in the past and now see greener pastures in the states. For most of their lives, they have been opportunists, so they may not be all that pro-US and freedom-loving as they say they are at this point. They DID collaborate to be able to wind up in Colombia. Not that they may not have had a change of heart, and not that I would not welcome them here anyway, it’s just that I think there are many people who ought to take precedence to them. They have a full opportunity to make a good life in Colombia and I think they ought to be grateful for that, it’s not nothing.

  11. Notice that I qualified the post with “or so it appears” knowing there is more to the story than the quick headline. Obviously the motive for the policy change was more likely an effort to undermine the regime rather than humanitarian concerns. I don’t know enough about Columbian law to say for sure, but it’s my understanding that under their current status they are not allowed to seek legitimate work.

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