No matter how you look at it, it is slave labor

New Prize in Cold War: Cuban Doctors

Joel Millman
The Wall Street Journal
1/15/2011

…Cuba has been sending medical “brigades” to foreign countries since 1973, helping it to win friends abroad, to back “revolutionary” regimes in places like Ethiopia, Angola and Nicaragua, and perhaps most importantly, to earn hard currency. Communist Party newspaper Granma reported in June that Cuba had 37,041 doctors and other health workers in 77 countries. Estimates of what Cuba earns from its medical teams—revenue that Cuba’s central bank counts as “exports of services”—vary widely, running to as much as $8 billion a year. Many Cubans complain that the brigades have undermined Cuba’s ability to maintain a high standard of health care at home.

The U.S. immigration initiative is reminiscent of the sort of gamesmanship that was common during the Cold War. It has interfered with Cuba’s program by triggering defections of Cuban medical personnel all over the globe—an average of one a day since the U.S. countermeasure began in 2006. Cuba generally doesn’t include doctors among the 20,000 or more Cubans it authorizes to immigrate to the U.S. each year.

State Department officials say it isn’t the intention of the U.S. government to use the immigration program, known as CMPP, to engage in espionage or to disrupt medical missions. Cuban doctors, a State Department spokesman says, “are often denied exit permission by the Cuban government to come to the U.S. when they qualify under other established legal channels.” One goal of CMPP is to get Cuba to change that…

Read the entire article at The Wall Street Journal.

H/T Babalu blog:

…No matter how you try to dissect this story and explore it from different angles, the grim reality is that these doctors are considered the property of the Castro regime and are sold to the highest bidder.

Also at Babalu, Slave labor very profitable for Castro regime

…Over the past decade, in a feat of political and diplomatic ingenuity, Cuba’s leaders have transformed the country from a place hurt by high oil prices into one that rides their rise straight to the bank. Through service agreements that send Cuban doctors, nurses and other skilled professionals to energy giants like Venezuela, Angola and Algeria, the Cuban government is compensated on a sliding scale pegged to the price of oil…

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