Jueves, 14 de Diciembre de 2017
01:56 CET.
Editorial

Doctors enslaved abroad while Cuba deprived of them

Two of the most important revenue sources for Castroism's economic survival are family remittances and the export of medical personnel. Cuban doctors abroad work and live on a basis that is tantamount to slavery, only having access to a fraction of their wages, their freedom of movement restricted, and  forced to get involved in political campaigns with local populations, with which they are not even allowed to interact in a private way. They are hostages of the Government, enlisting in these programs towards the sole goal of saving some minimal amounts allowing them to subsist after their return to Cuba.

The export of the country’s doctors also helps the regime to garner international recognition. But this is acknowledgment that entails a smokescreen covering up their violations of the health workers' labor and human rights. Until now, many of them had found a way out of their dilemma by emigrating to the U.S.A. through other countries, allowing them to reinvent their lives and obtain the kind of compensation to which every professional aspires.

But by ending the parole program for Cuban doctors Obama has eliminated this possibility for them. The president's statement argues that favoring the emigration of doctors to the US could affect the Cuban people: "By providing preferential treatment to Cuban medical personnel, the medical parole program […] risks harming the Cuban people." But this reasoning is based on a failure to acknowledge how Raúl Castro's regime operates; the fact that Cuban doctors cannot emigrate to the USA does not mean that they will decide to serve patients on the Island.

The economic outlook leaves the Cuban authorities so few options that they will have to resort, increasingly, to exporting medical staff. In the wake of the lifting of the “dry feet/wet feet” policy, as the total amounts received from familiar remittances diminish, the numbers from the export of doctors could become even greater.

Due to the Government’s programs for the export of specialists, the number of doctors per inhabitant in Cuba has already noticeably diminished. Medical facilities lack professionals in some specialized areas, and this situation is only going to get worse, regardless of what Barack Obama has ordered. In spite of his good intentions, Obama is not going to be able to improve the situation of Cuban patients, but he will worsen that of many doctors.

In light of all this, Cuban American Senator Marco Rubio and House Representative Carlos Curbelo are right to ask Donald Trump to restore the program that favored Cuban health professionals.

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