In a rare act of collective defiance, scores of Cuban doctors working overseas to make money for their families and their country are suing to break ranks with the Cuban government, demanding to be released from what one judge called a “form of slave labor,” The New York Times reports:
Thousands of Cuban doctors work abroad under contracts with the Cuban authorities. Countries like Brazil pay the island’s Communist government millions of dollars every month to provide the medical services, effectively making the doctors Cuba’s most valuable export.
But the doctors get a small cut of that money, and a growing number of them in Brazil have begun to rebel. In the last year, at least 150 Cuban doctors have filed lawsuits in Brazilian courts to challenge the arrangement, demanding to be treated as independent contractors who earn full salaries, not agents of the Cuban state.
“You are trained in Cuba and our education is free, health care is free, but at what price?” one doctor said. “You wind up paying for it your whole life.”
The report casts a fresh light on the reality of Cuba’s purported medical internationalism – one of the Communist regime’s key propaganda tropes.
Cuban workers are denied basic labor protections, independent trade unions are banned and the state-controlled ‘labor’ federations are used as ‘transmission belts’ for enforcing the diktats of the ruling Communist Party.