Friday, October 30, 2015

North Koreans and Cubans work overseas in slave-like conditions for their respective regimes

A Tale of Two Communist Regimes and Media Coverage 

Cuba and North Korea Flag Pins
Many in the media, the Obama Administration, and some members of Congress are trying to sell the idea that the regime in Cuba is normal, but the facts in evidence demonstrate otherwise. If there is one country that Cuba shares a number of traits in common with, it is North Korea. That the Castro regime was caught in 2013 smuggling 240 metric tons of weapons to North Korea in violation of international sanctions should not be a surprise considering the outlaw nature of both regimes.

However, the media coverage on Cuba and North Korea could not be farther apart. For example, Time Magazine on October 29, 2015 reported that "North Korea has sent tens of thousands of its people to countries around the world to work in conditions that amount to modern slavery, according to a U.N. researcher who monitors human rights in the totalitarian state." The number in its headline was that 50,000 North Koreans work overseas in "slave-like conditions." Both Cuba and North Korea make outrageous health care claims but again media reaction is dramatically different.

Meanwhile, the Castro regime in Cuba does the same thing and the media reporting is quite different. According to sources friendly to the Castro regime place the number of Cuban doctors sent by the regime on an "international mission"at 31,000. Other Cubans, also working in "slave-like conditions" have been sent abroad to work and provide hard currency for the Castro regime. Cuban doctors in Cuba make approximately $25 dollars a month in salary. In 2008 The Miami Herald reported that "more than 31,000 Cuban health workers -- most of them doctors -- who toil in 71 countries brought in $2.3 billion last year, ..., more than any other industry, including tourism. Most of them are paid $150 to $375 a month, a small percentage of the cash or trade benefits the Cuban government pockets in exchange for their work." North Koreans working abroad are making between $120 and $150.

Juan Alfonso, a Cuban doctor, now living and practicing medicine in Chile, was interviewed by the PanamPost on October 15, 2015 and explained why he had to flee his homeland, "I will tell you something: I would have liked to stay in Cuba. I left because I could barely afford to buy a single egg to eat a day." The New York Times is trying to spin that Cuban doctors are fleeing to the United States because of the Cuban Adjustment Act and a special immigration program. Perhaps they should talk to this Cuban doctor who can offer an alternative explanation:
 "I was told that during a meeting of the [Communist] Youth, an Olympic athlete stood up and said he thought doctors should work extra shifts for free. The whole world applauded, and the motion passed unanimously. There is no union to defend doctors in Cuba. Many of us would wake up around midnight from hunger pains, and no one ever gave us anything; maybe a slice of bread, at the most."
In 2006 the case of Cuban workers forced to work 112 hours a week for 3 cents an hour in Curaçao made the news. The workers had been unpaid; instead their compensation was deducted from Cuba’s debt to the Curaçao Drydock Company. Three workers sued the company accusing  "Curaçao Drydock Company of subjecting them to forced labour in a lawsuit in US federal court under the Alien Tort Claims Act and other laws.  They alleged that the company conspired with the Cuban Government to traffic them and other workers to Curaçao to work for Curaçao Drydock Company as part of a forced labour programme."

The case went to trial only on the issue of damages.  On 31 October 2008 the court awarded a total of $80 million in damages to the plaintiffs, saying there was “overwhelming and uncontroverted evidence” of the plaintiffs’ claims.  The judgment stated that this amount reflected the severe physical and psychological injuries of the plaintiffs, the defendant’s gross misconduct, the universality of the offense, the gains made by the company from the conduct and the potential deterrent effect it could have on other companies. In July 2013, the plaintiffs sought to enforce the US judgement against the defendant's assets in Singapore. The court of first instance declared the US court decision enforceable in Singapore, and this was confirmed by the High Court of Singapore in June 2015.
 Meanwhile the Obama Administration in a controversial maneuver watered down the State Department's trafficking report on Cuba in order to put the Castro regime in a better light in its continuing human trafficking practices. Cubans inside and outside of the island are afraid to speak out. Inside of Cuba that can imprison you for enemy propaganda from 1 to 5 years and if you speak to a foreigner under Law 88 (also known as the Gag Law) for 20 years in prison. Outside of Cuba, Juan Alfonso explained in the interview with PanamPost that:
 "People who disobey the government, and speak to the press about the country, are not allowed to return. The regime owns your passport. They can prevent you from reuniting with your family in a new country."
 The regime in Cuba remains totalitarian and systematically terrorizes and violates the rights of all Cubans, all the time. This is an abnormal regime and normalizing relations with it will not lead anywhere good. Nor will closing the door to fleeing refugees.

General Raul Castro embraces North Korean ally General Kyok Sik Kim


  1. Hi John,

    Watch your language with respect to calling Cuba a slave society. If an Afro-Cuban in your surroundings sees you referring to Cuban workers and professionals as slaves, then all other Afro-Cubans will end up deriding your characterization of Cuba as a slave society as a mere insult to Afro-Cubans whose great grandparents and great-great-grandparents were treated brutally by the white skinned Spanish-descent slave masters, and they will criticize you for overlooking the fact that Cuban doctors and workers fail to meet the definition of slaves because they are entitled to education, unlike classical black slaves.

  2. Never used the term "slave society"in the above piece. However references to slavery and slave-like were taken from press accounts. For ex: "US case highlights Cuban 'slaves' in Curaçao" http://www.csmoni "Cuba's slave trade in doctors"