The following story is just one in the hundreds of thousands of tragic tales of forced labor and forced exile suffered by Cubans at the hands of the Cuban regime. It’s disturbingly amazing how Cuba’s communist Castro dictatorship can carry on a modern-day slave trading business and the world not only ignores it, they celebrate the slave masters.
Forced Labor, Forced Exile: The Cuban Professionals Sent Abroad To Work, Never To Return
Daniela was just one year old when she last played with her father. In a video her mother recorded, the two can be seen lying on the floor, making each other laugh.
Three years have passed since then. Daniela’s sister, Dunia, was born — but she has never met her father in person, only connecting through video calls. Indeed, between 2019 and 2023, the family changed more than the two little girls could understand.
“Dad, are you here yet? I’m crazy excited to talk to you.”
“Dad, I want you to call today and I’m going to send you a kiss.”
“Dad, I want you to come for a long time. I want you to call me; call me, dad.”
Three voice messages which Daniela has left her father, one after the other, on WhatsApp this Saturday. His image appears on the phone screen, and the two both light up.
The girls can’t explain what their father looks like in real life: how tall or short or thin he is, how he smells or how his voice sounds — the real one, not what comes out of the speaker. Their version of their dad is limited to a rectangular, digital image. There is nothing else, only distance, and problems that their mother may never share with them.
In 2020, Noel*, the girls’ father, was offered a two-to-three-year employment contract on a volcanic island in the Caribbean, some 2,000 kilometers from Cuba. The family needed the money. What came next was never in the plans.
Pressure from a diplomat
With the agreement and management of the Union of Caribbean Construction Companies (Uneca S. A.), Noel traveled to Saint Lucia.
Unlike other Cuban workers on the island, Noel felt comfortable because he had an apartment to himself. Still, some rules had bothered him since the beginning. Above all, workers had to ask for permission and inform the head of the mission every time they were going to leave the house, partly for security, but also for control.
He had broken up with the mother of his daughters and began a relationship with a Cuban woman who had been living on the island for some time and was not linked to any mission or collaboration of the Cuban Government in Saint Lucia. Their relationship eventually reached the ambassador’s ears.
“You have to understand that they [referring to his girlfriend and her friends] are Cubans, but they are a different type of Cubans,” the ambassador told him. He recommended that if he wanted to have sex, he should do it with the women of the mission.
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