The New York Times editorial board has taken a bold stance on the issue of Cuba’s doctor slave trade, a system that coerces doctors to work abroad for meager “stipends” in exchange for more than $8 million a year being deposited into the communist government’s pockets. Naturally, the Times has taken sides with the communist regime, condemning the United States’ offer of refugee status to these doctors.
“Cuban doctors serving in West Africa today could easily abandon their posts, take a taxi to the nearest American Embassy and apply for a little-known immigration program that has allowed thousands of them to defect,” writes the board in an editorial published this week. “Those who are accepted can be on American soil within weeks, on track to becoming United States citizens,” they explain, noting that this, somehow, is a bad thing.
Cuban doctors, the board argues, are not among “the world’s neediest refugees and persecuted people.” The United States has no interest in tempting them into the sins of capitalism, they write, because this causes “brain drain” in Cuba and hurts the Cuban government. Crippling the Cuban government is, of course, not a valid interest in the eyes of The New York Times editorial board, who regularly call for an end to the embargo-not because they believe it does not work, as many libertarians who morally oppose the regime do-but precisely because they have a feeling that it just might.
“It is incongruous for the United States to value the contributions of Cuban doctors who are sent by their government to assist in international crises like the 2010 Haiti earthquake while working to subvert that government by making defection so easy,” the board argues. “American immigration policy should give priority to the world’s neediest refugees and persecuted people,” they conclude. “It should not be used to exacerbate the brain drain of an adversarial nation at a time when improved relations between the two countries are a worthwhile, realistic goal.”
The editorial clearly disregards the status of political refugees which should rightfully be granted to these doctors for being forced to work to fund a violent, terrorist-supporting nation. It goes so far as to claim that Cubans are legally allowed to “immigrate” to the United States. “Some 20,000 Cubans are allowed to immigrate to the United States yearly,” the editorial board notes, citing absolutely nothing for that number. They includebalseros-the brave Cubans who dare to illegally manufacture water vessels out of old cars, inner tubes, and assorted raft equipment to sail to Key West-as a second set of immigrants.
The New York Times is notorious for their callous disregard of human rights with regards to Cuban refugees and those unfortunate enough to remain on the island or enslaved by it abroad. But claiming that defecting Cuban doctors are merely “immigrants,” and condemning the opening of a channel for them to escape the inhumanity of that regime, is a new low, even for them. The editorial event notes-but completely disregards-the fact that doctors in Cuba are wildly underpaid. The Cuban government raised doctors’ salaries to $64 a month in March, considered a fortune in the communist nation, but clearly insufficient for a respectable quality of life. For doctors forced abroad, it is even worse. While doctors’ salaries abroad are, as The Wall Street Journal reported, a “state secret,” they are giving a “living stipend” that many defectors have described as barely enough for food. The Cuban government keeps more than $8 million it collects from sending doctors abroad-$8 million in salaries that will forever go unpaid. The same Wall Street Journal article notes that doctors are often coerced into traveling to dangerous areas like West Africa to combat Ebola, a disease in which no Cuban doctor has specialty training, or allied countries, such as China or Russia. Doctors who have defected have said their families often lose government jobs, are denied access to education, or find their food rations tightened should doctors express any concerns about leaving the nation to risk their lives in the name of making communism look more appealing to the rest of the world.
The situation with doctors being sent to allied nation Sierra Leone to fight Ebola is even more distressing. Doctors leaving to fight Ebola are forced to sign documents stating they will not return to Cuba, especially if they come in contact with the virus. Unlike the United States or Spain, which have repatriated a number of Ebola victims and saved their lives, the Cuban government is leaving them to die in a leftist regime only slightly less oppressive than their home island.
The Times has the nerve to mention that doctors have, indeed, attested to being coerced into doing dangerous government work and travel. The situation does little to concern them, instead condemning the doctors for wanting to “immigrate” to the United States, something the Times claims, with no evidence, that thousands do regularly. Never mind that the Times, in the same breath, is demanding that President Obama give amnesty to “undocumented migrants” from anywhere but Cuba. Attracting the best and brightest from Mexico and Central America-extremely traumatized parts of the world that need support from its most educated to reconstruct their societies as much as Cuba does-apparently does not count as “brain drain,” which says plenty about racial biases of the Times, given that the population of Cuba is significantly whiter and less indigenous than those nations.
The macabre use of doctors to elevate the status of a nation rightfully seen as our hemisphere’s North Korea is a human rights disaster calling out for international aid. No other nation uses such wickedly sophisticated propaganda to manipulate the good will of the planet’s most gullible leftists and nefarious dictators. They have succeeded once again, this time prompting some of the world’s most privileged men-surely men, as it is The New York Times after all-to use their formidable pedestal to call for an end to a program that brings hope to thousands of would-be refugees hoping for a better life.