Friday, February 02, 2007

Colombia: In Reversal, Cuban Doctors Denied US Entry



In what is either remarkable incompetence between the US bureacracies, or a rare instance of intelligent course reversal, 35 "Cuban doctors, social workers and sport advisors" who defected to Colombia were denied entry to the United States. The move was a surprise because last year the US publicly announced a program to allow Cuban Doctors who defect asylum in the US.

But today the Cubans, living off donations (from Miami) in a terrible Bogota neighborhood, showed off their rejection letters to the press. They can't work in Colombia, their US denial is final and they can't go back to Venezuela or Cuba without risking arrest, as defecting from medical missions is a crime (because of the US policy). Cuban doctors know this when they sign-up for overseas service (as volunteers).

Cuba has 31,000 doctors serving in humanitarian missions in 68 countries around the world. More than 20,000 work in Venezuela (in exchange for oil) and the other 10,000 are scattered around disaster zones and doctor-less ares around the world. This week doctors arrived in the poor Carribean coast of Nicaragua.

The world should call on Colombia to deny the asylum requests that are now before it. If the US denied the asylum, the defectors stories must be as pathetic as they sound - an opportunistic minority pulled along by the US Gov't and its mafia accomplice, with no basis at all to claim asylum. To make a special case for Cubans would only further encourage good doctors to think about abandoning their posts. The most needy pockets of Central and Latin America would be the only ones to suffer.

In related news, a Bolivian court has dismissed the case of a Cuban exile anti-Evo activist who had been deported under a law forbidding foreigners from acting politically. Right-wingers were trying to use the case to condemn the Morales Government.

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20 Comments:

Blogger jsb said...

You should do a post about the new hip/hop documentary "East of Havana".

10:47 AM  
Blogger joep said...

Are you serious? Colombia should deny the asylum request? Have you ever been to Cuba? I suggest you travel there as quickly as possible to enjoy the benefits of socialism and the chance to be decreiptly poor and hungry 24/7, all the while trying to make ends meet on the equiv of $12(US)/month.

2:40 PM  
Blogger Manuel A. Tellechea said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:07 PM  
Blogger Manuel A. Tellechea said...

"A proud socialist from Chicago who sees hope in the social-economic experiments of our Southern neighbors." — leftside's description of himself

Hope for what? The enslavement of humanity? Haven't you Communists tried that already? Was the murder of more than 1 billion human beings just a dry run? Are you going to "do it right" next time and murder 2 billion? Or 3 billion?

Let me define a slave for you, distinguished dj, urban planner and universal joke of the blogosphere: a slave is someone who is compelled to work for another and receives in exchange the bare sustenance that will allow him to work for one more day in his master's benefit. This is an exact description of the living conditions of the Cuban doctors in Venezuela. The fruits of their labor were paid to Fidel Castro, who, although he has foisted Marxism on Cuba, practices personal capitalism himself, which has allowed him to amass a $900 million fortune based upon just such enslavement of his countrymen.

And you? What are you, leftside? A parasite upon such a parasite. You do not commit Castro's crimes, but you condone and cheer them; but although he is the actor and you are merely the reactor, both of you are on the same moral plane. He is the greater menace but I think that you are even more contemptible than him because you are the dog that laps up the blood. But you are much worse: because you are not a dog. Dogs are governed by their instincts, but you have turned your back on everything that defines and elevates humanity above the beasts, who are at least God's creatures. You are a conscious agent and willing instrument of evil. Nothing can be more contemptible.

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that all people have the right to leave any country, including their own. It also says that you should not repatriate refugees into a country where they will face persecution.

That is the case with these doctors. They are victims of unfortunate policy decisions with both the US and Cuba. Cuba doesn't let them emigrate, and will imprison them if they go back home. The US won't accept them.

These doctors are just individuals faced with difficult circumstances, trying to make a better life for themselves. They have lived their life in a country with one-party rule and little hope to change their circumstances.

Cuba is great if you believe in socialism; but it's not so great if you believe in anything else. Cuba is great if you enjoy life under a socialist economy, but not so great if you don't.

You may not agree with the doctors, but it's their RIGHT to hold opinions that differ from yours, Leftside, isn't it????

These Cubans simply don't agree with the socialist system, and it's their fundamental Human Right to choose to live in a non-socialist country.

Not all Cubans on the island agree with socialism. Shouldn't that be OKAY???? Why, Leftside, do you see it fit to punish individuals for holding differing opinions??

-A Human Rights Lawyer

4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Screw these doctors. I think it is particularly illumatiting that an anonymous poster brought up the 'Universal Declairation of Human Rights' an UN declaration.

But didn't comment on the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. Which states that if an asylum seeker passed though a safe "third country" on their way to their destination country then the application can be repatriated to the previously visited safe country.

In other words of a Cuban citizen flees Cuba and makes it to a "safe country" such as Colombia they can't seek asylum in the United States. Because they have already made it out of Cuba and there is no longer a threat of persecution.

6:21 PM  
Blogger leftside said...

Joep, I have been to Cuba, have you? Have you been anywhere else south of our border? If you have I doubt you would call Cuba poor and hungry... You'd know Cubans aren't needy, aren't homeless, aren't living in shacks, aren't drugged out, aren't criminals, aren't desperate and ALL have access to things lacking for millions in every other Latin country - water, sewer, electricity, schools and health.

Mr Lawyer, welcome. The Cubans could have waited to emigrate to the US legally like the other 20,000 a year. They evidently never faced any "persecution." Their mistake was taking the US at its word, to get treated specially. I bet they were even Party members... my only explanation as to why they were denied US entry.

Sure anyone can have opinions (and Cubans have plenty) but to gain a work visa in another country is NOT a "basic human right." Neither is defection from foreign service (that was volunteered for).

Manuel, glad to see to here (not really). Let me ask you, can one volunteer to be a slave? Do slaves mormally make more than they would otherwise on the island These slaves know their helping their countrymen, no one is getting rich. You know damn well there is ZERO proof of Fidel living lavishly or having even one million dollars.

As for your kind remarks, right back at you asshole.

10:56 PM  
Blogger ziva said...

Anonymous- The U.S. specifically offered Cuban doctors asylum, to deny it after the fact is barbarous, considering the consequences.

11:01 PM  
Blogger Manuel A. Tellechea said...

Leftside:

Is that the best you can do? Asshole? That is the concern of your beshitted idol, not me.

You don't really have any empathy for the Cuban people; for you they are merely pawns in a game of international politics that ceased to be played when your beloved USSR imploded. Didn't you defend that regime as cravenly as you now defend Castro's dictatorship? Hasn't every Stalinist depended on you for a kind word or thousands of kind words in the span of your miserable existence as an apologist for the inexcusable?

In fact, you are not only indifferent to the suffering of Cubans, you regard them as inhuman and unworthy of enjoying the freedoms that you enjoy here and would never forfeit, not even to enjoy the spectacle of seeing Cubans degraded on a daily basis while you live in relative comfort in your socialist paradise. Why must your paradise be another man's hell?

The Cuban doctors "volunteered" because Cubans will do anything (and have) to escape Castro's island prison. It is most assuredly better to be a Castro slave in Venezuela or any other country than in Cuba, because then at least you have the possibility of escaping to freedom without having to forfeit your life in the bargain.

As for Castro's personal wealth made at the expense of the Cuban people, I am confident that Forbes can tell a capitalist from a communist, even if you can't. Castro has never lived an ascetic life, nor, God forbid, shared the misery which he has inflicted on his countrymen. He owns the world's biggest plantation and owns more slaves than did all the slavemasters of the Confederacy. If you were really a socialist like Marx, you would despise him as a plutocrat. But, of course, you are nothing but a shameless deluded sadist who masks his bloodlust in a superannuated ideology.

12:11 AM  
Blogger Manuel A. Tellechea said...

Manuel, glad to see to here (not really). — leftside

Of course you're glad. In fact, you are jumping up and down with joy.

1:02 AM  
Blogger joep said...

Leftside, I know more about Cuba and what goes on there than you could ever imagine.

Water...while with my Cuban wife in her cuban house in Cuba I believe we were w/o water for upwards of 18-20 hours on some days.

Electricity - try 24 hours w/o electricity during a period in which temperatures inside the house reached 84 degrees.

Schools - sure, if you consider indoctrination to be education.

Health - ha! You really don't have a clear picture of what's happening in Cuba if you champion there health system...

Sorry man, but Cuba is no socialist paradise.

5:37 AM  
Blogger Manuel A. Tellechea said...

Joep:

Of course leftside champions the Cuban health system, and right now I do too because it got Castro into the beshitted state in which he is now.

If Castro's personal physicians (the "best and brightest," we suppose) had not misdiagnosed his case and then botched what should have been a simple operation, he would already have recovered by now. Instead, a foreign expert had to be consulted and equipment and medicines flown-in from Spain to try to halt his decline (into hell, that is). And as the ultimate slap to the Cuban health care system an artificial anus had to be imported from non-fraternal South Korea. And so the Maximum Ass doesn't even have his own ass anymore thanks to the wonders of Cuban medicine.

If this is what Cuban medicine does for Castro, what must it do to the Cuban people who cannot afford to have foreign experts, foreign medicines and foreign equipment to try to supply the deficiencies of Cuban medicine?

Castro's undoing, ironically, was that he believed his own propaganda. The Greatest Liar in the end was defeated by his Greatest Lie.

6:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all, I can't believe that an anonymous poster called me out for being anonymous myself? Pot calling the kettle black here?

But that aside, Mr. Anonymous, I never said that the Cubans had a right to be in the US, that is obviously not the case. BUT, they do have a right not be repatriated into Cuba. Colombia now has the burden of accepting them.

My point was that they would face persecution upon repatriation. And therein lies the problem.

I'm curious, though, why do you say "screw these doctors?" Do you know anything about their life or circumstances?

LEFTSIDE: yes, the doctors could have waited for the lottery. But the fact that there is a lottery to leave is the problem. Anyone should have the right to leave any country at any time. That is a fundamental right.

Furthermore, how do you know that they didn't face persecution? I think that without knowing their situation it's premature to make such a comment.

7:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, I didn't sign that last comment:

-A Human Rights Lawyer

PS, why "screw these doctors"? Do you say that because you disagree with their politics?

7:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The U.S. specifically offered Cuban doctors asylum, to deny it after the fact is barbarous, considering the consequences."

Give me a break. Looking out for our own national interests is what we should be doing in the first place. If that results in a few migrant workers not being able to enter the United States then cry me a river. And to think the Cubans like to call the Democrats bleeding hearts.

"First of all, I can't believe that an anonymous poster called me out for being anonymous myself? Pot calling the kettle black here?"

I wasn't calling you out I was just referring to your post. Sorry if I gave that impression.

"But that aside, Mr. Anonymous, I never said that the Cubans had a right to be in the US, that is obviously not the case. BUT, they do have a right not be repatriated into Cuba. Colombia now has the burden of accepting them."

Please site the law, treaty, or binding resolution that would force Colombia not to repatriate them.

"My point was that they would face persecution upon repatriation. And therein lies the problem."

A problem for them maybe. They knew the risks the faced and they took their chances. Don't do the crime if you can't do the time.


"I'm curious, though, why do you say "screw these doctors?" Do you know anything about their life or circumstances?"

I don't know and I don't care. Their circumstances aren't my problem. And I don't appreciate our government making their problems ours either. If Cubans don't agree with the system in Cuba then they need to revolt and change Cuba. If they don't care enough to make that sacrifice then let them live the lives they are living now. Either way leave the United States out of it.


"why 'screw these doctors'? Do you say that because you disagree with their politics?"

I don't know what their politics are nor do I care.

- Bill

9:54 AM  
Blogger leftside said...

Joep, the UN (in their human development report) says that 98% of Cubans have access to sustained, clean water sources (for free). The numbers of wealthier countries like Chile is 91%, Mexico 71%, Brazil 75%, Peru 63%...

As far as electricity, yeah there used to be blackouts, but that problem has basically been put behind Cuba - because of the bold actions taken by the government last year.

Schools - The UN had to test Cubans twice because they did not believe the result. They found Cuban children to score roughly twice as high as the Latin average... though I'm sure the UN scewed their tests to the "indoctrination" Cubans recieve. Cuba is #1 developing country when it comes to literacy.

Health care - I assume you all know the stats here - infant mortality, life expectency, etc that rank even or above the United States. The apparent mistake with Fidel's case appears to be his own - he supposedly requested the more complicated procedure, against the doctors recommendation. Yeah a Spanish expert came in and said that Fidel is receiving the finest care possible... The fact that he apparently has recovered after been given a 10% chance of living by experts in the Herald should tell you something.

As far as the supposed persecution Cubans faced in Cuba, why didn't the US find any proof of that. That is why I can say there was no persecution. If there was any hint of it, the US would have taken these folks in.

A lottery to get 20,000 US visas a year is something most countries would kill for. Most get 0. It may be a right to leave a country, but not to gain admission into another, and that is the dilemma these 35 are in. There is a difference between persecution for no reason and facing jail time for knowingly breaking a just law.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Manuel A. Tellechea said...

Leftside:

Wow! You're willing to blame Castro rather than Cuban medicine for his 7-month moribundity. You are good at agitprop because that is exactly what Castro would want you to say and what himself would say rather than ever admit that Cuba's public health system is a house of cards that just fell on him. For my part I haven't lost hope in Cuban medicine. If it's brought him this far it will certainly bring him home soon.

You know, of course, because you are not stupid just disingenuous, that Cuba before 1959 had the lowest infant mortality rate in Latin America and 13th lowest in the world (it now ranks 24th lowest in the world); and that its literacy rate (80%) was higher than that which many experts claim for the U.S. today. The Cuban Revolution was not predicated on the redress of social inequities but on the restoration of democracy, for which Cubans have been waiting 48 years and counting.

Cuba was a 1st world country when Castro came to power. It was Castro who declared Cuba a 3rd world country and then proceeded to make his fancy a fact.

BTW, Nick Eberstadt of the Harvard Center for Population Studies, revealed 20 years ago that Cuba falsifies its infant mortality rate. Communist Cuba practices eugenics to keep its infant mortality low, aborting 7 out of 10 pregnancies.

Cuba in fact has the lowest birth rate in the hemisphere as well as the world's highest suicide rate. There is really nothing more to be said.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states in Article 14 “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.” Granting of asylum is an act of State sovereignty and cannot give rise to legal objections by another State. Granting of asylum is considered a peaceful and humanitarian act under the international refugee law. Subsequent legal decisions under International Law have clarified this principle.

The cornerstone of international protection is that an asylum seeker shall not be rejected at the frontier. He/she shall not be forcibly returned to his/her country. Not to be forcibly returned, non-refoulment, is a basic human right.

When people flee their own country and seek sanctuary in a second state, they apply for 'asylum' - or the right to be recognized as bona fide refugees and the legal protection and material assistance that status implies.

I think it's a shame that the US did not grant them asylum. But Colombia is obligated to grant them asylum, just as the US is if they have a reasonable fear of persecution when they return.

Regardless of their previous situation, now they will be persecuted as "counter-revolutionaries," essentially enemies of the state.

I agree that the lottery system is imperfect. But my point is not that the US, or any country has an obligation to take them. My point is that Cubans, like all human beings, have a right to leave their country whenever they want. And they don't enjoy that right. They should enjoy that right. It should NOT be a crime, and the fact that they have to escape in such a way is problematic.

I also disagree with you statement that their situation is not your problem. These are human beings, and as a fellow human you should care. Just because they aren't American, they mean nothing to you? That's xenophobia, pure and simple.

Dissenting Cubans face persecution in Cuba; to deny this goes against Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and scores of other reports. No one should be persecuted for his or her beliefs, be it in the US, Cuba, or anywhere else in the world.

Finally, if you don't care about someone else's problems, when you end up facing problems yourself, who will be there to help you? Please read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came...

"To observe a crime in silence is to commit it."
-A Human Rights Lawyer

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states in Article 14..."

The United Nations is not a governing body nor is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights a treaty or binding resolution. It is just another feel good piece of paper put out by a useless global organization that has no teeth to back it up. Member nations are not required to follow it.


"Subsequent legal decisions under International Law have clarified this principle."

The United States doesn't recognise the U.N.'s international criminal court. And the ICC has no teeth to back it up. It only can conduct proceedings if the member states agree to it.


"I also disagree with you statement that their situation is not your problem. These are human beings, and as a fellow human you should care."

Boohoo! I don't care in the least bit. Have you ever filled up your tank with gas that came from islamic terrorist states or dictatorships without giving a second though to the people who live under these regimes? Have you ever bought goods produced in communist China? If the answer was yes to either of those questions then you can shut up now.


"Just because they aren't American, they mean nothing to you?"

No I don't care because their fate doesn't effect me and I have no stake in whether or not they get sent back to Cuba.

"That's xenophobia, pure and simple."

Oh I see so if someone isn't interested in issues that concern you they are a xenophoibic are they? First of all I suggest that you look up the definition of xenophobia which implies hate towards or fear of all foreigners and things foreign. Which is quite different then in-difference towards most foreigners.

You still haven't shown me a specific law or treaty that would prevent these doctors from being repatriated back to Cuba.

- Bill

2:55 PM  
Blogger leftside said...

Manuel, my blaming Fidel for the medical decision is not some sophisticated propoganda. It is based on what is coming out of Spain. You evidently believe every other scandelous part of that story, why not this part?

As for 1959 Cuba verus today, you have part of the story correct in that PART of Cuba was a 1st World country then, the other part was 3rd World. But a major reason infant mortality rates seemed good in 1959 is because only 53% of deaths were reported then, versus 99% today (Susan Eva Eckstein). Also, the Revolutionary Govt faced a mass exodus of doctors, so there was a lag that let other countries catch up. But today, Cuba has again reached the top of Latin America in these all-important measures - though yes some European countries pulled ahead.

As for your oft-repeated claim about abortion ("eugencis"!), your numbers are old and out of date. There were a total of 209,900 abortions in 1996, leading to a 58.6 ratio (6/10). In 2004,however, after a public health push to lower abortions, the number had dropped to 67,277. Therefore the rate has basically dropped by two-thirds to be apparently lower than the United States' (25.9) today.

As for suicides, again your figures are off. Cuba may have had a very high rate 10 years ago, during the midst of the special period. But today the figure is less than 18/100k - placing it 16th worldwide - not first. The counties with low birth rates and high suicide rates are usually those most developed countries. It is like int he US, poor people are not usually the ones committing suicide. It appears to be a disease of contentment.

Lawyer, this is an odd legal reasoning: I think it's a shame that the US did not grant them asylum. But Colombia is obligated to grant them asylum, just as the US is if they have a reasonable fear of persecution when they return.

If the US, who is well known to skew its asylum policy to embarress Cuba, did not evidently find proof of persecution, what makes you say that Colombia is obligated to grant asylum?

10:17 AM  

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