14ymedio, 29 January 2019 — The representatives of Spain’s Popular Party (PP, opposition) this Tuesday presented a parliamentary initiative in which they requested explanations on “the possible evidence of modern slavery” in Cuban medical missions abroad.
In a non-legislative motion that will be debated in Congress, the PP invited the Cuban government to repeal the “impediment to enter the country” from the doctors who left the missions and asked the Spanish government to apply “measures of political asylum” for those professionals.
According to a source close to the new president of the Popular Party, Pablo Casado, “it’s a proposal that is part of the line taken by the leadership of the PP of keeping pressuring on the (socialist) Spanish government so that it doesn’t give in to Cuba even more and that it put human rights before commercial agreements.”
The initiative, which appeared signed by the spokeswoman Dolors Montserrat and the representative Carlos Rojas García, is based on another motion for a resolution presented in the United States Senate on January 10, 2019 affirming that the Cuban government’s medical missions abroad constitute human trafficking.
In the US Senate’s report are detailed several restrictive measures suffered by the Cubans serving abroad, among them restriction of movement, retention of passports, prohibition from having their families with them, and threat of imprisonment for abandoning the job or not returning to the island after completing it.
It also denounced that “the Cuban doctors received approximately 25% of the amount that was charged for their work in said agreements, with the government of Cuba retaining approximately 75% of the payment received for said work.”
The PP explained in its motion to the Spanish parliament that, after reading the resolution of the United States Senate, it considered “that all of the mentioned assertions, as well as the rest, are scrupulously truthful” and then included other elements that were produced by their own investigations that added arguments to the decision.
As a consequence, it proposes that the Congress of Representatives urge Spain’s government to demand that Cuban authorities explain “the denounced facts constituting human trafficking and modern slavery” and that it recommend the modification or elimination of a set of current legal instruments that violate internationally recognized labor rights.
The initiative of the conservative Parliamentary group proposes that, from confirming the facts or a significant part of them, the Spanish government “commit itself to considering the allowal of measures of political asylum and entry into the labor market (in Spain) to the Cuban doctors around the world who find themselves in this situation.”
The text recognizes that the work of these doctors “has been extraordinary and, without a doubt, has helped save thousands of lives. However, in recent years we have discovered that that tool of diplomacy, that supposed solidarity of the Cuban government, in reality was the front for a source of income that subjected Cuban professionals to subhuman situations.”
The proposal will be debated in the Spanish parliament in the course of the next few weeks. Non-legislative motions generally have a political character and seek to formulate proposals before the chamber that do not have the character of a law, but rather urge the Government to carry out some concrete action or express the feeling of the Congress regarding a particular subject.
Translated by: Sheilagh Carey
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