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.
Labels: cuba colombia venezuela doctors