Cuban officials on Thursday denounced a U.S. government plan to spend up to $3 million to “investigate, collect, and analyze information related to human rights violations – including forced labor – of Cuban medical personnel exported overseas.”
The Agency for International Development plan, first reported by the Cuba Money Project, is part of a broader campaign to raise “domestic and international awareness about the realities faced by Cuban citizens.” See “USAID will highlight ‘failures of the Cuban Revolution.’”
Cuban officials condemned the effort. Their statement is below:
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs energetically denounces and condemns the recent aggression of the government of the United States against Cuba via a USAID program designed to fund actions and information searches to discredit and sabotage the international cooperation being provided by Cuba in the health area in dozens of countries for the benefit of millions of persons. This is an endeavor added to the crude pressures exercised against a number of governments in order to obstruct Cuban cooperation and to the earlier efforts for the same purpose such as the special “parole” program designed to steal human resources trained in Cuba.
The heart of this immoral calumny consists of alleging, with no factual foundations whatsoever, that Cuba is involved in the traffic of persons or in the practice of slavery, and wishing to degrade the meritorious work that hundreds of thousands of Cuban health professionals and technicians are voluntarily undertaking, and have been undertaking, throughout history, in a number of countries, especially in the Third World.
We are talking about an affront to the bilateral and intergovernmental cooperation programs, all lawfully set up between the Cuban Government and the governments of dozens of countries, which have been consistent with the United Nations guidelines referring to South–South cooperation and which have responded to the health requirements that those same governments have defined in a sovereign manner.
This is an attack against the efforts in solidarity which have received the acknowledgement of the international community and the specific praise from the most senior officials of the United Nations, the World Health Organization and the Pan-American Health Organization.
These lies reveal the low morality of the United States government and its politicians who devoted themselves to the business of aggression against Cuba. The campaign has millions of dollars of funds and the complicity of a number of the mass media giants and, particularly, of unscrupulous reporters who have sacrificed their so-called impartiality and objectivity in the service of the political interests of the United States government.
For decades, right up to the present, in those nations having more unfavorable economic conditions, that cooperation has been provided, and is being provided, as a gesture of solidarity; its expenses are covered by Cuba practically in their entirety. Likewise, and following the United Nations conceptions on cooperation between developing countries, this is being offered in various nations on the basis of complementarity and partial compensation for services rendered.
It consists of a totally fair and legitimate exchange between developing countries, many of which have natural wealth and economic dimensions or degrees of industrial development that are superior to those of Cuba, but which lack the human resources our Government has managed to generate, of self-sacrificing and humanist professionals ready and willing to work of their own free will in the most difficult of conditions, and of the ideas of health coverage that years of successful experience has permitted us to build up.
The Cuban technicians and professionals participating in those programs do so in an absolutely free and voluntary manner. While serving their missions, they continue to be paid their entire Cuban salaries and they also receive stipends from the destination countries, along with other forms of compensation.
In cases where Cuba receives compensation for the cooperation being provided, those collaborators distinguish themselves by contributing a highly valued, fair and totally lawful amount for the funding, sustainability and development of the massive and free health system that is accessible to each and every Cuban, as well as for the cooperation programs that are carried into many parts of the world.
Access to health is a human right. The United States is committing a crime when it wishes to deny that or to obstruct it for political reasons or as aggression.