The Canadian Network on Cuba denounces the United States cynically maintaining Cuba on its Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. For decades, Cuba has sent tens of thousands of its medical professionals abroad to work in countries where natural disasters or poverty have left people without healthcare.

In prior years, Cuban doctors on medical missions were cast by the U.S. State Department and the compliant corporate media as villains and agents of the Cuban State; once this lie was no longer viable, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic as Cuba’s medical internationalism was receiving accolades and recognition around the world, they shifted to portraying Cuban medical professionals as victims. These allegations that don’t stand up to minimal scrutiny run completely contrary to caring about Cuban medical professionals and about the people whose lives depend on the healthcare services that they receive from them.

Cuban medical professionals choose to go on medical missions abroad for many reasons; professional development, to participate in solidarity and help others, and to earn more money on top of their regular salaries. Cuba’s medical brigades are a lifeline to many people across the Global South, and they are also an important source of income in hard currency that gets reinvested back into Cuba’s fully subsidized public healthcare system, which outperforms most First World countries – especially important because U.S. sanctions greatly increase the costs of importing medicines, medical supplies and technology. In some cases of disease outbreak and natural disasters, the Cuban government has had hundreds, even thousands, more volunteer medical professionals willing to go provide services abroad than could be accepted.

It is not lost on the people of Cuba and those around the world who stand with them in solidarity, that this inclusion on yet another United States blacklist comes as people have become increasingly aware that Cuba is not a state sponsor of terrorism and should be removed from the spurious U.S. State Sponsors of Terrorism list immediately. The inclusion on this TIP Report list is a ploy by the United States to utilize another tool to deprive the Cuban people of income, and to try to stop solidarity and cooperation between Cuba and other countries, through coercion and threats of being designated as complicit.

It also targets the delivery of health care services to the entire Global South, whose people have been long been victims of U.S. interference and political destabilization, imperial violence, colonialism, and the plundering their natural resources, resulting in their underdevelopment and inadequate levels of healthcare personnel in their countries to meet the needs of the population.

Shame on the government of the United States for its deleterious disinformation war against Cuba, and its illegal, immoral blockade on the Cuban people. Solidarity cannot be blocked. ¡Abajo el bloqueo!

Samantha Hislop & Julio Fonseca
Co-Chairs, Canadian Network on Cuba



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