From his seat on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., brought out a resolution condemning the communist regime in Cuba, accusing it of running a “program that sends tens of thousands of Cuban medical professionals to foreign countries to work under conditions that qualify as human trafficking.”
Rubio teamed up with U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-NJ, to introduce the legislation which condemns the Cuban regime, noting it sends “thousands of Cuban medical professionals” who are forced “to participate in a state-sponsored program to work in Brazil, where they are subject to wage garnishing, restrictions on their movement, and constant surveillance by the Cuban regime -- conduct that constitutes state-sponsored human trafficking.”
On Thursday, Rubio weighed in on why he had introduced the resolution.
“It is outrageous, though not surprising, that the Cuban dictatorship continues to manipulate and traffic physicians in order to enrich itself,” Rubio said. “This form of forced labor should not go unnoticed by the international community. We must stand against the regime’s modern-day slavery scheme and support the doctors seeking justice after serving in these so-called international medical missions.”
“For 60 years, the Cuban regime has been finding new ways to exploit its people,” Menendez said. “Recent information from Brazil shows how the Cuban government profits from its state-sponsored foreign medical missions, which they sell as medical diplomacy but look a lot more like indentured servitude. This bipartisan resolution sheds additional light on the Cuban regime’s role in human trafficking, and is another call for greater accountability from Cuban officials, their overseas partners, and the international community.”
Last month, three Republicans--U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen--representing South Florida in Congress took aim at the Cuban regime as it ends its partnership in the “Mais Medicos” (“More Doctors”) program in Brazil even as some Cuban health care workers file a lawsuit “alleging that the Pan American Health Organization facilitated the human trafficking of thousands of Cuban medical professionals.” Curbelo and Ros-Lehtinen are no longer in Congress. Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell defeated Curbelo in November while Ros-Lehtinen retired after almost three decades in Congress.
Back in November. Cuba announced it was ending its role in Mais Medicos since incoming Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tightened up requirements for Cubans coming into his country to practice medicine. With Cuba ordering its residents to return, some Mais Medicos professionals are suing, insisting the communist regime is engaged in human trafficking. Cubans make up 46 percent of Mais Medicos professionals in Brazil.