APPLY THE PALERMO CONVENTION FOR THE HUMAN TRAFFICKING OF CUBAN PHYSICIANS
Carlos Sánchez Berzain*
Under the spurious appearance of being “cooperators or internationalists”, Cuba’s dictatorship runs a system involved in lending physicians and other personnel in “conditions of slavery” to Latin American governments and others. In Brazil, this program known as “Mais Medicos” (More Physicians in Portuguese) was abruptly ended by the Castroist regime’s decision in order to deny Brazil’s President-Elect Jair Bolsonaro’s request for the Cuban physicians to; receive the totality of their salaries, have the right to have their credentials ratified, and not be forced to be separated from their families. Details, threats, and the coercion with which the regime is forcing the return of these physicians to Cuba, make the United Nations’ protocol on Transnational Organized Crime’s “Human Trafficking” applicable.
The “Protocol to prevent, repress, and punish Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children” is in Annex II of the Convention that in its Article 3.a states: “Trafficking in persons” shall mean 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. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”
The Protocol in Annex II, further states that: “The consent of a victim of trafficking in persons…shall be irrelevant…” This Convention was signed in Palermo in December of 2000. Brazil ratified the Palermo Convention and its annexes on 29 January of 2004, Cuba ratified the Palermo Convention on 9 February of 2007 and accepted the Protocol on Trafficking in Persons on 20 June of 2013.
The Mais Medicos program was started by President Rousseff on the 8th of July of 2013, and from the start was accused of being a system of slavery because 70% of the salary Brazil paid for every physician went to benefit the Cuban regime, the Pan American Health Organization (OPS in Spanish) who played the role of intermediary retained a portion of the salary, and the physician received what was left. The so-called internationalists are forced to leave their families behind in Cuba as hostages to secure the physicians’ subjugation and return
Under this charade, Cuban physicians and other personnel serve in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador since Correa’s presidency, and other countries. In Venezuela this program was labeled “Deep in the Barrio Mission” and consists of over 31,000 Cubans with the same complaint of the Castroist regime’s misappropriation of their salaries. In Bolivia this Cuban program known as “Operation Miracle” has led Bolivian physicians to conduct massive street protests against the presence of thousands of Cuban physicians who they accuse of medical mal-praxis and involvement in the internal politics to favor Evo Morales’ regime. In Ecuador, the Castroist regime has forced the “cooperators” to use “twitter, with a mandatory quota” to spread messages in defense of the enslaving program.
The newspaper New Herald back in 2014 had already reported that “nearly 3,000 Cuban professionals, most of whom were Physicians had deserted from the program in Venezuela in 2013”. This week, journalist Andres Oppenheimer refers to this issue as “the scandalous slavery of Cuban physicians in Brazil” reiterating that the physicians’ families “remain in Cuba as hostages to reduce the risk of massive desertions” accusing the OPS/OMS for their participation. Journalist Mario J. Penton posted on twitter a video showing a Cuban official coercing “anyone who dares to ask for asylum in Brazil will not be able to comeback to Cuba for eight years.”
Ample proof shows that members of Cuba’s dictatorship led by Raul Castro, high level executives from the OPS and officials from the Brazilian government with Rousseff and the Workers’ Party, formed a “group of Organized Crime” to commit “serious crimes” with “trafficking in persons”, earning “as a product of their crime” several millions of dollars, and befitting under the definitions of Article 2 and in the “laundering of the product of the crime” described by Article 6 of the Palermo Convention. Brazil meets all conditions and has the obligation to apply the Palermo Convention and its Annex on Trafficking in Persons, with regard to the case of Cuban physicians.
*Attorney & Political Scientist. Director of the Interamerican Institute for Democracy.
Published by infobae.com Sunday, November 11th 2018
“The opinions published herein are the sole responsibility of its author”.
Translated from Spanish by; Edgar L. Terrazas, member of the American Translators’ Association, ATA # 234680.