Human Rights and
International Democratic Solidarity


Promotion of the Political Opening in Cuba


The other side of cuban missions abroad

Persecution, slavery, threats, violence, harassment and separation of families are some of the lesser known features of Cuban missions abroad, according to a recent virtual meeting held at the request of the Spanish NGO Prisoners Defenders, and within the framework of the complaints filed with the UN in Geneva and the International Criminal Court.

The missions of Cuban professionals abroad were the focus of a virtual event organized by the Spanish NGO Prisoners Defenders, in which CADAL participated, to deepen the denunciation presented before international organizations to show and examine the hidden face of that reality. 

The denunciation of Prisoners Defenders, presented before the UN in Geneva and the International Criminal Court, and whose third extension has just been published, refers to the missions of Cuban professionals abroad, which include doctors as well as other specialists, among them teachers, artists, sailors, architects or engineers.

These missions, promoted as cooperation and solidarity ventures, constitute the largest source of income for the Cuban regime, said European Parliament Vice-President Dita Kharanzová in her introduction to the event.

"It is high time for people to know the truth, to know the other side of the Cuban international missions. Disregarding the human rights situation cannot be the price to pay for health aid or other services. The governments that receive these services must be firm and demand changes, say 'no' to slavery and forced labor," Kharanzová stressed.  

Javier Larrondo, president of Prisoners Defenders, reviewed the highlights of the report but first recalled by way of tribute and solidarity the many political prisoners that abound in the island's jails today.   

"I would like to remember certain people that the European Parliament mentioned very shortly ago and mentioned them as examples of thousands of people who are spending time in prison. Whether predilictive, that is to say without crime, which are more than eight thousand (eleven thousand convicted), like those of the 11J, who are more than a thousand, like the politicians of the human rights organizations, who are more than 130, 140 at the moment," Larrondo said.      

Regarding the system of foreign missions, he pointed out, among other things, that according to the Cuban regime, the professional in a mission abroad who abandons it or refuses to return when his term expires or is required to do so, "incurs the penalty of deprivation of liberty for three to eight years".

Larrondo also pointed out that more than five thousand fathers or mothers "cannot see their children, today, for at least eight years". And he said that there have been forty or fifty thousand professionals who have gone through the same situation historically, having been eight years without entering the country, far away from home and family.

Jordi Cañas, vice-president of Eurolat/DLAT in the European Parliament, pointed out that "it seems unbelievable that 142 years after slavery was abolished in Cuba, we are talking about slavery and forced labor by a country that behind high concepts, such as solidarity, altruism and internationalism, hides a propaganda that camouflages interest, business and exploitation".

Brian Schapira, director of Institutional Relations of CADAL, referred to how the situation of Cuban international missions, and other issues linked to human rights in the island, has a disparity of repercussions in the universal system of protection of human rights in the UN.

"We believe that there is a need for greater involvement and a greater commitment from the High Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, whom we respect and whose commitment to human rights we recognize, but we believe that on the issue of Cuba since July 11 she has made only one statement. We have asked her to make a statement regarding the call to demonstrate on November 15, which has of course been prohibited, prevented and repressed in every possible way so that it would not happen by the Cuban authorities and of course it did not happen", said Schapira, and pointed out that it would be important for the European Union to get involved in this regard.


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