The Treatment Of 'White Coats'
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Miami, 11 April 2017 – The treatment of blacks
and the market in slaves brought from Africa developed by the European
colonists has clearly been established as a crime against humanity
before all contemporary civilized beings without the slightest doubt. It
was a practice that "sold" human beings as if they were merchandise to
serve as mere instruments of production, especially in the sugar, coffee
and cotton plantations of the New World.
In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries human trafficking acquired
other connotations that made the United Nations address the issue as an
international crime because it has continued — albeit in ways different
from that slavery, but essentially with the same connotation — to
subject people to the exploitation of prostitution or other forms of
sexual exploitation, forced labor, slavery and practices similar to
slavery, servitude and the removal of organs. The victims have been
mainly women and children.
Right now, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, United Nations Special Rapporteur
on human trafficking is visiting Cuba. In order for the distinguished
visitor to know an issue that she should investigate in Cuba, I present
the case of the "white coats," which in one way or another many in Cuba
have denounced for years.
In this regard, it is necessary to refer to the UN definition of human
The UN Protocol Against Human Trafficking refers to it as "the
recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons,
by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of
abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a
position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or
benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another
person, for the purpose of exploitation."
After reading this definition, does anyone have any doubts that the
operations of the Cuban Government in sending Cuban doctors and
paramedics to different countries of the world to "fulfill
internationalist missions" constitutes real trafficking in persons for
the purpose of exploitation?
The Cuban Government captures, transports, and transfers Cuban doctors
and paramedics using the abuse of power it has over its citizens and
especially the situation of economic vulnerability of those workers.
They are given certain small benefits, in a situation where the low
level of wages established by the Government itself for its employees,
allows it to obtain the consent of these employees to be exploited. At
the same time, it appropriates between 70% and 90% of the wages paid by
the governments of other countries, or by health institutions of the
World Health Organization (WHO) itself, for the services of these
Medicine is one of the fields of those in which the Cuban state forbids
self-employment, which is another factor in the pressure to force
professionals to "accept" internationalist missions. If self-employment
were allowed their incomes would increase and they would not have to be
forced to "serve on a mission."
In addition, these professionals are prevented from taking their
families with them, but rather are forced to leave their children and
spouses as hostages that force them to return to the country, for which
they are also victims of extra-economic coercion. The deception has also
been used to obtain the recruitment of Cuban doctors for these purposes,
since they have been offered perks that were never satisfied, such as
the chance to buy a car.
To give an idea of the magnitude of this program of the Cuban
government, according to its own Minister of Public Health, Roberto
Morales, Cuba has about 50,000 professionals working in more than 66
countries. According to Granma, the official newspaper of the Communist
Party, the government receives about eight billion dollars a year for
this slave labor. It is the largest sum of foreign currency entering the
country, only comparable to that which comes from Cuban-Americans
abroad, who send remittances to their families on the island, along with
food, medicines, clothes and appliances, along with travel expenses for
themselves and their families.
These elements are sufficient to accuse the Cuban Government of
operating a huge international system of trafficking in white coats on
several continents that includes flagrant and massive violations of the
human rights of these citizens: the reality of the Cuban economy forces
them to serve as slaves to the Cuban state, and be subjected to the
situation of leaving their relatives behind as hostages.
The most recent example that proves this is a major government business
is the recent decision to prevent physicians from leaving the country
freely like the rest of the citizens, unless they do so through such
If United Nations rapporteur wishes to have complete information on this
matter, in addition to hearing what the Cuban Government has to say
about this, she should meet with some of the hundreds of doctors who
have decided to abandon their missions and reside in the US or other
Cuban human rights organizations, opposition groups and dissidents will
surely try to ensure that this issue is duly investigated by the
honorable Special Rapporteur of the UN for trafficking in persons, on
the occasion of her trip to Cuba.
Source: The Treatment Of 'White Coats' – Translating Cuba -