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Sens. Cruz, Scott, Rubio Introduce Bill to Stop the Flow of Money to the Cuban Regime

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Rick Scott (R-Fla.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) today introduced the Cut Profits to the Cuban Regime Act, which will require the Department of State to publish the list of countries that contract with the Cuban regime for their abusive and coercive medical missions program, and to consider that a factor on their ranking in the State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons report.

The Cuban regime makes an estimated $7 billion annually by exporting its citizens' professional services, including these medical missions, in which they confiscate doctors' passports, subject them to poor living conditions and surveillance, and force them to continue working. This program is one of the regime's largest source of revenue, which they amass by seizing the compensation that would be paid to the doctors. There are currently around 50,000 Cuban doctors working across 67 countries. Now, Cuba is using the COVID-19 pandemic to exploit its own medical workers for profit while the island is in desperate need of medicine, medical equipment and doctors. It is reported that Cuba has sent more than 1,400 medical professionals to over 20 countries to assist with the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The Cuban regime has long enlisted Cuban doctors to work all over the globe. This has been especially true during the coronavirus pandemic. While these medical missions appear to be gestures made in good will, in reality they are a tactic used by Raúl Castro and Miguel Díaz-Canel to exert power and fill government coffers," Sen. Cruz said. "This bill will shed light on who is contracting with the Cuban regime for its medical mission program, and will send a strong warning that the United States will not turn a blind eye to the trafficking of Cuban doctors."

"Cuba is participating in the human trafficking of doctors, and now Cuba is using the coronavirus pandemic for profit at the expense of these hardworking physicians. It's despicable," Sen. Scott said. "Any country that requests medical assistance from Cuba is aiding their human trafficking efforts. The international community must stand against the use of forced labor and the Cuban regime's exploitation of this crisis, and I'm proud to lead my colleagues today in calling out this injustice and helping to bring a new day of freedom for the people of Cuba."

"I have consistently raised my concerns about the Díaz-Canel/ Castro dictatorship's exploitative practice of using Cuban doctors for their so-called medical missions, which is a form of modern-day human trafficking," Sen. Rubio said. "I'm proud to join this effort that will require the State Department to publish a list of countries that are complicit in exploiting Cuban medical professionals by contracting with the Cuban regime."

The Cut Profits to the Cuban Regime Act:

  • Requires the Department of State to publish the list of countries that contract with the Government of Cuba for their medical missions program (Cuban Doctor's Program)
  • Requires that such contracts are considered by the State Department as a factor in considering that country's ranking for Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report
    • The host country ranking will not be negatively affected if the host country protects Cuban medical workers by:
      • Paying the doctors directly and ensure no one confiscates their passports or wages;
      • Making all agreements public and transparent;
      • Ensuring safe working and living conditions and allowing them to bring their family members; and
      • Ensuring that the country providing the program is not receiving any additional compensation from the host country or any organization for the work of the medical professionals.