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Congressman Albio Sires Introduces Bipartisan Resolution Condemning Cuba’s Trafficking of Cuban Doctors

Feb 14, 2019
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congressman Sires introduced a House Resolution with bipartisan support that affirms a Cuban regime program which forced medical professionals to work abroad is recognized as human trafficking.

For years, Cuba has forced thousands of medical personnel to work in foreign countries under prohibitive conditions that included restriction of movement, surveillance, coercion, retaliation against family members, and wage garnishing.

“The revelation that Cuban professionals were being trafficked into forced labor in Brazil is just the latest in a long line of examples of rampant human rights abuses perpetuated by the Castro regime,” said Rep. Sires. “The coercion and oppression of tens of thousands of Cuban doctors under this program is a blatant example of state-sponsored human trafficking and it is imperative that the United States hold the Cuban regime accountable for its sordid history of human rights abuses, oppression, and questionable relations with malicious state actors.” 

As detailed in the resolution, it was recently reported that the Cuban government established a partnership program with Brazil in which they forced over 20,000 Cuban medical professionals to provide medical services in Brazil via the Mais Médicos program. Cuban participants were regularly prohibited from seeking outside employment, forbidden from having their families join them, had their passports confiscated, and had their wages severely garnished. The Cuban regime made billions of dollars at their expense. Now, more than 2,000 Cuban doctors are asking the U.S. government’s help after Cuba called home its medical personnel in response to President Bolsonaro of Brazil demanding full pay for them.

The House Resolution calls for accountability from the Cuban government and their international partners and requests the Department of State to downgrade Cuba in its annual Trafficking in Persons report. The resolution also reinstates the Cuban Medical Professionals Parole (CMPP) program.

Reps. Donna Shalala (D-FL-27), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL-25), Francis Rooney (R-FL-19), Juan Vargas (D-CA-51), Michael Waltz (R-FL-06), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL-23), and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL-26) also joined as original cosponsors.