Cuba’s slave labor ‘diplomacy’ – Part II

Yesterday, we read how Foreign Policy’s Elias Groll inexplicably characterized the Cuban dictatorship’s well-documented practice of selling slave labor to foreign countries as “diplomacy.” As ridiculous as that sounds, Pacific Standard Magazine nevertheless picked up on the fallacious diplomacy theme and ran with it. And like Groll, their own description of the practice leaves no doubt the Castro regime is selling slave labor:

Reciprocity. Rural Brazil gets doctors. Cuba gets airports. Talent is the new oil.

Really, talent is the new gasoline or diesel fuel. People are the raw material, refined through education. Better to export a value added product than be a banana republic. One big difference: the migrant, the talent export, also benefits. Migration is economic development.

Thankfully, there are still publications, researchers, and writers who are not willing to whitewash the Cuban dictatorship’s heinous practice of slavery.

Maria Werlau has an extensive report in the World Affairs Journal on the Cuban regime’s use of slave labor:

Cuba’s Health-Care Diplomacy: The Business of Humanitarianism

For decades Cuba has exported workers to the developing world as “missionaries for the Cuban Revolution.” Usually sent on two-year tours, they are predominantly health professionals, although teachers, sports trainers, engineers, architects, and other specialists also serve. The goal is to earn hard currency and advance other financial goals of the regime while gaining influence, prestige, legitimacy, and sympathy abroad.

The initiative began in 1960, when the relatively new revolutionary government of Cuba sent medical brigades to Algeria during the civil war with France and to Chile after a devastating earthquake. Havana realized it had stumbled onto a winning strategy: the state could mobilize health workers at very short notice and send them practically anywhere, including hardship locations, make them work under unique terms, and have them stay as long as necessary. The care they provided was an advertisement for socialism, especially for the Cuban brand, and a way to strengthen ties with their host nations. Government-to-government cooperation agreements soon guaranteed a more permanent and larger foreign presence for the Cuban “collaborators.”

Medical training and instruction also became part of the deals Cuba brokered primarily with third-world countries facing a scarcity of doctors and health workers. By allowing officials and politicians in host countries to secure needed health care at a relatively low cost, delivered in areas where local doctors and international volunteers do not go, Cuba reaped the benefits as support in terms of public praise and hard-currency payments and, eventually, international aid, trade, credits, and investment.


Fidel Castro and other Cuban officials had long lauded the idealistic fervor of the medical teams sent abroad, referring to their “volunteer” services performed “for free.” For years it had been a state secret that Cuba keeps a sizable part of the payment it receives for its “proletarian internationalists.” But, in 2010, official Cuban sources started discussing these revenues in the context of their importance to the economy. A need to explain the large export services appearing in the national accounts, a proliferation of news reports referring to the payments, and the lingering absence of health workers in Cuba apparently convinced them it was impossible to maintain the ruse any longer.

Agreements with host countries are kept secret, but some details of the income generated for Havana have emerged over the years. Terms vary depending on the country, but typically the host country pays Cuba a hard-currency sum for each health worker; currently, for example, it has been reported at $5,000 (US dollars) in Angola and $2,784 in Namibia. Haiti does not pay Cuba directly; instead, NGOs, other governments, and international organizations fund Cuba’s medical brigade, and apparently with many millions of dollars.

Read the entire report HERE.