Juan Juan Almeida, 27 January 2017 — With notable determination, the Cuban government seeks to lure, or rather rope-in, physicians, nurses and other healthcare workers who have defected while serving on medical missions outside Cuba.
To this end, it has sent out a flyer in which it assures that the right of return is guaranteed–just as long as they maintain a respectful attitude toward the Revolution and have not joined counter-revolutionary organizations.
Everyone knows that healthcare is a strategic factor in the development and wellbeing of any society. The diplomacy of white coats, as the export of medical services is also known, is among the principal revenue sources of the Cuban state, and a very effective tool for political influence.
Cuban medical doctors serve in remote areas. Cuba’s contribution to the fight against the Ebola virus in West Africa still resonates in the memory of European, and even North American, politicians. For this reason, any defection or escape poses a concern for the Island authorities.
A medical defector, besides becoming a bad investment for the country’s economy, also symbolizes the unquestionable link in the chain of failures of the Cuban healthcare system. But a traitor who returns signifies a social, economic and public relations triumph.
They must be induced to return. To this end–and to take advantage of the tremendous uncertainty planted by the announced end of the “wet foot, dry foot” policy and the Cuban medical professional parole program–the government has started a campaign that covers every municipality of the Island, visiting the families of every ungrateful malcontent health worker, making them complete a form and using it as a communication link or bait.
The form is as follows (“collaborator” in this case being a positive term):
Proposal to Exchange Information with Relatives of Ex-Collaborators
Name and surnames of the ex-collaborator:
Name and surnames of the interviewed relative:
Relative’s political affiliation:
Degree of kinship with the ex-collaborator:
Duty to Inform:
The family member is to inform the ex-collaborator regarding the Cuban Government’s disposition to guarantee the right of return to the country, according to the requirements of the Migration Law, as long as individual maintains an attitude of respect towards the Revolution, and has not joined a counterrevolutionary organization.
Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison