David Beckham, Qatar and the Cuban Doctors

Island officials and local authorities in a hospital in Qatar where Cuban health workers work. (Cuban Ministry of Public Health)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner, Miami, 20 March 2022 –David Beckham is a great English soccer player. He is 46 years old. He started playing professionally at a very young age for Manchester. He retired at 38. He was in the Real Madrid team and there he learned to speak some Spanish. It was then when I knew his name. He is half businessman and half Jewish, although he was not raised Jewish. (His maternal grandfather was Jewish). He has just signed a juicy contract for public relations with Qatar for 277 million dollars. The deal includes promoting the 2022 World Championship, but it will be for a decade. The championship will be played in Doha, the capital of Qatar, at the end of this year.

When UK-based human rights activist Peter Tatchell (he was actually born and raised in Australia, where he was a Labor Party candidate for MP), found out, he lamented that Beckham, just for money, lent his name and well gained prestige to mortify LGBTQ people, linking himself to a government that has in its criminal code penalties of up to five years in prison against two adults of the same sex who consent to have sexual relations.

However, Beckham has a much more serious problem with the State Department. Especially, when we have seen the enormous importance that today is given locally, nationally and internationally to sanctions for repeated violations of the law. In this case, it is a serious crime that the United States and other civilized nations take very seriously – “Human trafficking,” as it is shown in Conchita Sarnoff’s book Trafficking, focused on the Jeffrey Epstein case.

This includes child prostitution, importation of illegal immigrants, and the hiring of people under a semi-slavery regime. With the aggravating circumstance that the first two crimes are promoted and committed by lone criminals (for example, human traffickers known as coyotes), or mafias that fight ruthlessly and fiercely to establish a territory, while the third crime is carried out by necktie-wearing executives in governments interested in doing themselves ideological favors, or by simple and brutal corruption, or by a sum of the two elements, defying the agreements signed within the International Labor Organization.

They call it “The Cuban Hospital of Qatar” and there is not the slightest exaggeration in that name. The 475 doctors, nurses and technicians who operate the institution are Cuban. Why are they all Cuban? Perhaps to watch them better? Or so that there is no “foreign” witness to their violation of the laws? The first breach of the rules is that everyone has had to hand over their passports to the “comrade in charge of Security.” That is totally prohibited. There he is known as “Manolo el de la Seguridad” (Manolo from Security.) It is a false name. It could be “Felipe, Carlos or Agustín.”

I read parts of an extensive article from The Guardian, a UK newspaper known for its leftist position. The headline says, “Cuba’s secret agreement with Qatar that allows Cuba to keep 90% of the salaries that Cubans receive.” That is “trafficking” in my dictionary. That is to sustain a regime incapable of sustaining itself, a regime that survives exporting and exploiting its professionals.

The same newspaper affirms that it is a great deal for Cuba, which receives between 6 and 8 billion dollars annually from this business, much more than it receives from tourism. Cuba does not have to import sugar (yes: sugar) from the neighboring Dominican Republic. It does not need supplies or to treat foreigners like royalty. It is perfect for supporting dictatorships. To the extent that North Korea also has a place reserved for medical tourism in Qatar. And it is known that Belarus tyrant Alexander Lukaschenko also wants to participate in the health “business.”

In Cuba, during the times of slavery, “decent” people took the youngest and most beautiful black women (some of them minors) to brothels to exploit them. They put a price on them and the income that the girls produced was divided 50/50 between the brothel and the owners of the black girls.

Some “owners,” such as the mythical Julián Zulueta (“I have become rich buying whites in Spain and selling blacks in Cuba,” he said), owner of 2,000 slaves, a believer in labor incentives, reserved 5% or 10% so that the prostitutes could buy their freedom from them.

This leaves the evaluation of the operation “The Cuban hospital in Qatar” exactly in the same position as before 1886 (the year in which slavery was finally abolished). Some doctors, paramedics and technicians think that 10% is much more than what they earned in Cuba, just like many 19th Century prostitutes believed that it was better to be in the brothel than in the houses and in the sugar fields, exposed to the beatings, and with no hope of ever being free. It is a variation of the “Stockholm syndrome.”

The place where the transaction takes place has changed, but not its essence. The Cuban government knows that what it is doing is very wrong. It must change its ways. It cannot continue to exploit Cuban professionals with the blind complicity of countries like Qatar. I hope that David Beckham explains to them promptly what is happening at the Cuban Hospital, and that they begin to pay these professionals directly and not through the Cuban government.


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