Doctors forced to work for Cuba’s slave doctor program revealed in remarks Thursday they fabricated data on Chinese coronavirus investigations, making up names of “patients” they had treated who did not exist to make the Communist Party appear more productive.
Similarly, doctors lied about the kind of treatment they were offering, sometimes listing an individual who visited a clinic with a question as someone who had just received an advanced surgery. Officials in Havana actively encouraged this, according to the anonymous doctors who spoke to Diario de Cuba on Thursday. The doctors are participating in a case organized by the non-governmental organization (NGO) Cuban Prisoners Defenders against the Communist Party before the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC can only process cases in which defendants stand accused of genocide, war crimes, or crimes against humanity, of which slavery is the latter.
Hundreds of doctors have defected from Cuba’s medical slavery, denouncing the Communist Party for stealing their salaries and forcing them to work in some of the most dangerous places in the world. The doctors say they have no input into the trajectory of their careers and their families face potential punishment at home if the doctors disobey the state. Doctors who abandon the medical slavery program are banned from entering the country for eight years, often blocking them from seeing family, including elderly parents and young children.
Despite the involuntary and abusive nature of the program, leftists around the world have praised Cuba for its alleged philanthropy. A far-left British politician nominated the Cuban state for a Nobel Peace Prize this year, arguing the slave doctor program is especially important in light of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.
Cuba is estimated to make $11 billion a year selling medical slaves.
The doctors speaking to Diario de Cuba revealed that much of the work they were forced to do was fabricating medical records listing people who did not exist.
“When the pandemic began, they told us that we had to run tests every day. They gave us a mask today and we had to remind them to give us a new one every ten days,” one of the doctors, who requested to remain anonymous fearing for his family still in Cuba, told the newspaper. “We had to go to dangerous areas; many times I had to go alone.”
That doctor, who labored in Venezuela, said that program managers insisted on a quota of 150 tests a day, “but that was impossible.”
“I tested a couple of houses and then made up names and identification numbers. I even put names of people that I knew in Cuba. They never noticed, they didn’t even check, because the important thing was the numbers,” the doctor recalled.
Similarly, the doctor said the Castro regime mandated 15 to 16 surgeries a day. “We operated on, at most, five or six. There were patients who showed up to ask us something and we jotted them down as surgical patients,” he said.
The doctor told Diario de Cuba that to properly hide the fraud, he would have to destroy the medications that would have been necessary to treat the fake patients; for example, any surgical supplies that would have gone to an operation that never happened.
The latter is particularly egregious in light of the dire healthcare situation in Venezuela. After two decades of socialist policies, over 95 percent of the medications on the World Health Organization (W.H.O.)’s list of basic products to run a functional medical system are nowhere to be found in the country. Doctors are forced to routinely amputate limbs on individuals with infections easily treatable by antibiotics that are not available. Treatable cancers and other diseases have become lethal.
Another doctor speaking to Diario de Cuba emphasized the outrageous limitations on Cuban doctors completing medical missions abroad, such as a law that bans them from associating with individuals who have ideological differences with the doctor, who is presumably communist.
“You have to give from 75 to 90 percent of your salary [to the state] and work 64 hours a week. We worked 48 hours and were on guard for another 16. With the money left, you had to pay the rent, water, electricity, transportation, and food,” the second doctor detailed. “They were giving me the equivalent of almost $10 a month when a pound of meat costs about that much.”
The stories published this week are consistent with past testimonies from defecting doctors. During a press conference at the State Department Foreign Press Center in New York in 2019, multiple Cuban doctors testified to being forced to destroy medicine on missions in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Brazil.
“On a daily basis, you had to write on a piece of paper fake names, fake dates of birth, fake medical conditions, for patients we never saw,” Dr. Ramona Matos revealed at the event. “These were statistics the agents following and controlling us forced us to write. If we didn’t write that down, we had to go back to Cuba without our salary and we’d lose the money frozen in our accounts.”
“Since we weren’t seeing any real patients, medication wise, we had to correlate the medication prescriptions to these patients who didn’t exist, so we had to destroy medicine to keep up,” she added.
Cuban Prisoners Defenders published its 400-page report to the ICC in September, the result of interviews with over 600 defecting doctors participating in the global complaint against the Cuban Communist Party.
“I was forced to falsify patient histories and population statistics which, in order to comply with instructions, exceeded the real population of the place,” an anonymous doctor quoted in the report stated. “Medicines were discarded and thrown [away] for that: they were not used and expired because the population did not go to the doctor’s office given the remote location where it was located.”