Cuba, United States and human trafficking

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By: Salim Lamrani
Source: aporrea

The United States has once again placed Cuba in the list of countries implicated in the traffic of human beings. However, international institutions contradict the point of view of Washington.

In its report of 2014 on the traffic of human beings in the world, the Department of States once again included Cuba in its list, placing the country in the worst category. According to Washington “adults and children are victims of sexual traffic and forced labor” in the Island. “Infant prostitution and sexual tourism are a reality in Cuba and there were allegations of forced labor during missions that the Cuban government made abroad”. However, Washington recognized the lack of feasibility of its information:

“Some Cubans who participate in this work missions declared that their presence was purely voluntary and that the position was well paid in comparison to jobs in Cuba. Others affirm that Cuban authorities forced them to participate in missions, taking their Passports and limiting their movements. Some health professionals who participated in these missions could benefit by U.S. visas and some migration facilities to travel to the United States with their Passports that indicates that, at least some health professionals, conserve their passports. The reports on coercion imposed by Cuban authorities do not reflect a uniform government policy. It would be to report we lack information on the issue.”
Other issues of the report refer to the Cuban Medical ProfessionalParole Program (CMPP). In fact, since 2008, Washington prepared a policy to rob the Island of its human capital helping emigration of its medical personal to the United States. This programs gives priority, primarily, to 30 000 Cuban doctors and other health personnel who work in 60 of the Third World as part of the framework of the huge humanitarian campaign designed to cure the forgotten of the planet.

Thus, in spite of the lack of reliable information the report of 2014 concludes that the “Cuban Government does not comply with the minimum standards to eliminate the traffic of human beings and makes no effort to detain it”.

Point of view of UNICEF

The most serious accusation refers to infant prostitution. However, UNICEF – The United Nations Children’s Fund – does not share this view and hails, on the contrary – the advances of Cuba in protection of its children. According to this UN organization “Cuba is the best example of protection of children”.

Juan José Ortiz, UNICEF representative in Havana stated that “severe malnutrition does not exist in Cuba since there is a political will to“eliminate it”. Here there are no street children. In Cuba children are still a priority and that is why they do not suffer the shortages suffered by millions of children in Latin America, working, being exploited or in networks of prostitution”.

Ortiz shares his experience regarding this issue:

There are millions of children exploited every day that have never gone to school, millions of children that don’t even have identity, that they do not exist since they have not been registered.

For more than 50 years Cuba has been a model in the defense and promotion of children’s Rights. Public policies in favor of children have been a priority for many years.
Therefore, it has achieved something truly outstanding in the world in development.

Among hundreds of millions of children who suffer serious violations of their rights, who even die every day by causes absolutely avoidable, none of these are Cuban.
This is a clear demonstration that it is possible for the states to give priority to the attention and development of children.

It has been demonstrated that in spite of the international crisis, the seriousness of the impact of the blockade [economic sanctions] on children’s development; in spite of this situation since it is the only country that can fully guarantee the rights of children and achieve levels of human development ever more.

Cuba is an example for the world of how to work to guarantee the rights of infancy and their full development. The Cuban people enjoy this treasure and may not notice it. Children and adolescents are privileged when compared to the world.

20 000 children are going to die in the world [today] most deaths could be prevented. It is criminal to let children die when we have the resources to save them. If the question of infancy were a priority at world level, in which the victims are children the problems for a long time could be solved as in the case of Cuba.

Cuba has always been an example in the sector of social development with a level of equality similar to the country’s most developed.

Work in Cuba with young delinquents (another subject and challenge for Latin America and the Caribbean) is exemplary. Here there are no bars for children. The system Works in rehabilitation of the lost young people […]. In the same manner all handicapped children are attended and even at home if the child cannot be moved. This is an exceptional advance. It is the only country I know where we can celebrate the International Day of Children dancing

The UNICEF representative also underlined the following: “Through my work I have had to bury children in all countries. However, in Cuba I dedicate my time to play with them.
I do not hesitate to qualify the Island as “a paradise of children in Latin America”. UNICEF he recalls that Cuba is the only country
in Latin America and the Third World that has eradicated children malnutrition.

Answer of Havana

Authorities in Havana have condemned the new inclusion of Cuba in the black list since 2003 in the group of countries implicated in the traffic of human beings and qualified the report “manipulative and unilateral”:

“The Department of State decided, once again, to include Cub in the worst category in its yearly report on countries that “do not completely comply with the minimum standards to eliminate the trade of persons and makes no significant efforts for that purpose”, ignoring the recognition and prestige achieved by our country for its outstanding performance in the protection of children, youths and women.

Cuba has not requested the United States to evaluate nor does it need recommendations of the government of one of the countries with the largest history of trade of children and women in the world. The United States has no moral right to qualify Cuba or to suggest “plans” of any kind when it is estimated that the number of U.S. citizens that are traded within the country is around 200 000 in which work exploitation is a form of the most extended trade of persons with 85% of legal process dealing with this subject. This corresponds to cases of sexual exploitation and where more than 300 000 children, of millions abandon their homes subjected to a form of exploitation.

Inclusion in this list, for purely political reasons as well as the designation of Cuba as a State that supports international terrorism, is aimed to justify the policy of blockade that seriously affects our children, youths, women and all our people”.

Washington recognizes the fragile character of its report and UNICEF denies the accusations against Cuba. Also, the implication of the United States in the traffic of human beings and exploitation of children for 12 years damages its moral authority and deals a serious blow to its credibility.

Translation of the Network in Defense of Humanity


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