The State Department announced on July 26 it was imposing visa restrictions on officials of the Cuban communist regime involved in the export of medical services outside the island.

“The Cuban government engages in exploitative and coercive labor practices while earning money at the expense of its citizens through its medical missions abroad program,” the statement signed by Mike Pompeo described.

State noted that this “labor abuse” includes “working long hours, staying in unsafe areas, and forcing Cuban medical professionals to advance the regime’s political agenda.”

Visa restrictions could include members of the immediate family of those affected.

“The State Department has imposed visa restrictions on certain Cuban officials and others responsible for exploitative and coercive labor practices under Cuba’s overseas medical missions program. Cuba must cease using this program to earn money at the backs of its citizens,” the secretary of state also said in one of his tweets.

The State Department reported on June 20, 2019, on the situation of Cuban doctors sent abroad to work.

According to statements from government officials, the government employed between 34,000-50,000 health care professionals in more than 60 countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East, and Portugal in foreign medical missions through contracts with foreign governments and, in some countries, with international organizations serving as intermediaries.” 

In total, Cuba’s communist regime earned nearly $7.2 billion in revenue in 2017 from the export of services, including those provided by doctors.

According to detailed information by observers, mentioned by the State Department, the regime retains their passports, limits their movements within the contracting country and monitors them.

It also threatens them with the suspension of their contract or the punishment of their families who stayed on the island.

For their part, Cuban doctors protest against the coercive practices applied by the regime if its rules for hiring abroad are not complied with.

Thus, on Aug. 19, 2018, a group of Cuban doctors residing in Miami protested against the sanctions imposed by the regime.

“We’re not deserters. We are free Cubans” was their slogan and the name of the group they formed when they denounced that the Cuban regime violates their rights by imposing eight years of forced exile as punishment for having abandoned their government missions abroad, reported Martí Noticias.

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