Italy is willfully purchasing more medical slave labor from the communist Castro dictatorship as the socialist healthcare system in Cuba is in virtual collapse. Rampant shortages of medicine, medical supplies, and the shipping of doctors overseas to work as slaves for the Cuban regime is stretching the island’s failing healthcare system beyond its limits. But the Castro dictatorship needs hard currency to stay in power, so let the Cuban people be damned.
More healthcare professionals sent outside Cuba: Nearly 160 go to Sardinia
A new group of nearly 160 Cuban healthcare professionals will soon be sent to Italy to work in hospitals on the island of Sardinia, where there is a shortage of specialized personnel, as reported by the digital edition of L’Unione Sarda.
The publication specified that a meeting recently took place at Havana’s diplomatic headquarters in Rome between the regional health advisor, Carlo Doria, the ambassador Mirta Granda Averhoff, and the Cuban Minister of Public Health, José Ángel Portal Miranda, to finalize the agreement on the new specialists destined for the Italian island.
Without specifying an arrival date for the group, the media outlet highlighted the significant numbers: “128 Cuban doctors and 30 nurses will arrive in Sardinia to be assigned to the most critical locations, with a contract until December 31, 2025, with the possibility of renewal.”
Italy has hired hundreds of healthcare professionals from Havana in the last four years. In August 2022, authorities in Italy announced that the Cuban government would export 497 doctors to Calabria in a secretly run operation, where Havana would receive a total of 28 million euros annually for three years. One year later, in August 2023, another 200 specialists arrived in that province.
While the regime continues to send human resources to other countries, the shortage of medical personnel affects Cubans, acknowledged by the authorities on the island.
The Cuban Observatory of Social Audit (OCAC), part of the think tank Cuba Siglo 21, recently revealed that the new Cuban oligarchy led by GAESA seized at least $69.8 billion from the salaries of exported doctors. This money was never invested in the public health system, as the Cuban government had announced, amidst the initial accusations of subjecting these health professionals to forced labor.
In November 2023, deputy ministers of Public Health admitted a shortage of doctors in Cuba, leading to fewer surgical procedures. According to the Statistical Yearbook of 2022, published by the state National Office of Statistics and Information (ONEI), there were 12,065 fewer doctors working on the island in 2022 than in 2021.
Regarding primary care, a 2018 investigation by DIARIO DE CUBA revealed a sharp decline in family doctor offices. Of the 18,090 that existed in the late 1980s, 6,542 have disappeared today, according to official figures.
Since Havana lost several markets for its exported professionals with the closure of major “missions” in countries like Brazil, Bolivia, and Ecuador, it has sought new destinations for its healthcare workers. During 2020 and 2021, the Covid-19 pandemic allowed them to send groups for brief periods to over 20 countries, including Andorra and Italy.
The export of human health services generated 58.1% of the total revenue for the government from the export of services, amounting to 3,997.9 million pesos out of 6,879.7 million pesos in 2020, according to official figures. Despite this, Havana insists that its “medical missions” are an expression of its “internationalist vocation” and part of the “humanistic” purpose of the Revolution.
This happens as complaints from doctors, nurses, and other healthcare specialists grow regarding the conditions of slavery to which they are subjected in these so-called “missions.”
The violation of the human rights of Cuban doctors sent abroad has been extensively documented and denounced. An investigation published by DIARIO DE CUBA in 2018 revealed the mechanisms used by the Cuban regime in exporting doctors to Brazil.
Another more recent investigation by the same newspaper, in collaboration with the journalism organization CONNECTAS, obtained evidence of the modus operandi in other countries. Prisoners Defenders has gathered over 1,800 testimonies from victims describing conditions of modern slavery in “missions” in 47 countries between 2002 and 2022.
In early January, the UN once again singled out the Cuban regime for the persistence of violations of the rights of exported workers, especially doctors sent on “internationalist missions,” and warned that the governments of Italy, Qatar, and Spain could be considered accomplices to these mechanisms.