The mask has quickly come off Obama's Cuba policy.
For the past year, Obama has purported -- at least in rhetoric -- that his new Cuba policy is aimed at increasing "support for the Cuban people."
Now, it's just blatantly looking to change policies simply because "Castro doesn't like them."
Last week, it was reported that the Obama Administration will likely end the Cuban Medical Professional Parole ("CMPP") program, which provides safe-passage for Cuban doctors who have defected in third-countries.
The rationale for this program is simple -- the terms and conditions under which Castro exports Cuban doctors-for-profit constitutes human trafficking.
Human trafficking is the Castro regime's main source of income, with the export of doctors netting over $8 billion last year alone. This is a high margin business for the Castro dictatorship, whereby Cuban doctors are coerced, have absolutely no say about salary, work in deplorable conditions and often have their passports confiscated. Meanwhile, the Castro regime keeps over 90% of their income.
This practice has been denounced internationally as a violation of the Trafficking in Persons Protocol and the International Labor Organization's ("ILO") Convention on the Protection of Wages.
It is forced labor -- plain and simple.
As Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez has previously explained, these doctors are "feudal serfs" of the regime.
So how -- by any stretch of the imagination -- does ending the CMPP program, which is the only safeguard these doctors currently have, "support the Cuban people"?
Clearly, it doesn't.
Doesn't Obama see anything wrong with Cuban doctors being tracked-down, kidnapped and repatriated, upon trying to defect; or the security and intelligence apparatus that keeps a watchful eye of them; or withholds their passports; or separates their families, in order to dissuade defection?
Upon arriving in the United States, Cuban doctors who choose to defect face an uphill struggle to ever practice medicine again. Thus, the CMPP program doesn't "lure" them, as some detractors claim.
Here's a novel concept -- how about ending the CMPP program when Castro stops trafficking in these individuals in violation of international law?
Sadly, this is only part of a pattern whereby the Obama Administration appears keen to give the Castro regime a free-pass on human trafficking.
Last month, it was reported that Obama is also considering allowing MLB to contract directly with the Castro regime -- namely with Fidel's son, Antonio, through a state-entity called INDER -- to traffic in baseball players to the United States.
This would allow Antonio Castro (sorry INDER -- wink, wink) to negotiate, contract and keep a large chunk of these player's wages for himself -- strengthening the notion that all athletes in Cuba (like doctors) are "feudal serfs" of the regime.
Never mind that this would also be in violation of U.S. sanctions, labor and human trafficking laws.
Finally, let's not forget last summer's infamous politicization of the Trafficking in Persons Report.
Pursuant to the release of the 2015 Trafficking in Persons (“TIP”) report, a Reuters investigation revealed that human-rights experts at the State Department concluded that trafficking conditions had not improved and Cuba did not deserve to be upgraded from a bottom Tier 3 ranking to Tier 2. The reports indicated that senior Obama Administration officials pushed without legal merit and prevailed in upgrading Cuba -- as another concession to the Castro regime.
The Obama Administration's lead negotiator with the Cuban regime in the normalization talks, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson, has since admitted that she made a recommendation about Cuba’s status in the TIP report, but she has refused to share this recommendation -- and its justification -- with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
During an August 2015 hearing on the TIP Report, all such input was requested from the State Department, and the committee chairman, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), even threatened to subpoena the information.
To our knowledge -- there has yet to be a response.
Maybe they couldn't figure out how it would "support the Cuban people."
at 9:23 AM Monday, January 11, 2016
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