New York Foreign Press Center Briefing on “A Call to Action: Abuses in Cuba”

MS ORTAGUS: I am Morgan Ortagus, the spokesperson
for the U.S. State Department, and I am honored to be joined on stage by my United States
Government colleagues and four very brave doctors. Dr. Tatiana Carballo, Dr. Ramona Matos – where
are they? Where are the doctors? Oh got it, behind me. Oh good, hello, so you can wave to everyone. Okay. Dr. Rusela Sarabia – right here, okay – and
Dr. Fidel Cruz. Great. These four doctors have risked everything
to escape a life they did not choose. This morning, we will hear their personal
accounts of harrowing stories about how the Cuban Government exploited them by sending
them abroad for work in medical missions programs. I am also joined by a distinguished group
of U.S. Government officials who are working to bring
these abuses to the public’s attention. With me today on stage is Carrie Filipetti,
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs; John Barsa, Assistant Administrator
for USAID’s Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, there he is, great; Ambassador
Carlos Trujillo, U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States; and
John C. Richmond, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. In the audience we have Robert Destro, Assistant
Secretary for the State Department Bureau of Democracy, Rights, and Labor, right here,
and my longtime friend, Roger Carstens, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau
of Democracy, Rights, and Labor. Unfortunately, unable to join us today but
watching from U.S. Embassy Havana are Cuban independent journalists, many of whom the
Castro regime forbids from traveling outside of Cuba. We welcome you. Today, the officials with me on the dais will
call for action to stop the abuses that exist in Cuba’s medical missions programs. DAS Filipetti has been following this story
closely and initiated today’s briefing. We’ll start with her. MS FILIPETTI: Good morning. Thank you so much for everyone’s attendance
today. And thank you to the Foreign Press Center
and USAID for helping to organize this event. I also want to thank my colleagues, both onstage
and in the audience, from the State Department and USAID. I think the high-level participation in this
briefing is a reflection of how seriously the United States takes the accusations against
the Cuban regime. I really don’t want to say too much upfront,
because the whole purpose of this briefing is to hear from our doctors, Dr. Matos and
Dr. Carballo. Their government, the Cuban regime, has really
denied them a voice for years. During their abuse they had their voices,
their families, their money, their freedoms, in some cases their lives, stolen from them. Here at the United Nations, our purpose is
to come together as an international community to draw attention to abuses and to help make
the world a more equitable place for countries and our communities and to seek justice for
those who have been wronged. We’ve all read the numerous accounts in
the media about the allegations on the Cuban regime’s use of human trafficking under
the cover of the doctors program. But a few months ago, I had the opportunity
to meet with these two doctors to hear their stories upfront. And their brief testimonies and those of hundreds
of others that we have spoken to paint a picture of a program that is not intended to provide
support to countries in need, but rather as a manipulative corruption scheme intended
to boost revenue for the Cuban regime, all under the guise of humanitarian assistance. We have heard repeatedly that the Cuban Government
collected revenue for each professional services and paid the worker a mere fraction of the
revenue, almost all of which was deposited in a bank account in Cuba, to which they only
had access upon completion of their mission and return to Cuba. We have heard how the governments collected
$7.2 billion in a single year from the export of professional services through programs
like the foreign medical missions and, while those services were ongoing, refused to provide
even a living wage to those who were participating in it. We have heard accusations that doctors are
coerced into the labor program and deprived of their rights and pay while separated from
their families in Cuba. They are given no rights to travel; they are
forced under Cuban surveillance; and they see retaliatory measures taken against their
families should they choose to speak out. The United States Trafficking Victims Protection
Act defines labor trafficking as the, quote, “recruitment, harboring, transportation,
provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services through the use of force, fraud,
or coercion, for the purpose of subjugation to involuntarily (ph) servitude, peonage,
debt bondage, or slavery.” What you will hear from Dr. Ramona Matos and
Dr. Tatiana Carballo will not only alarm you but will raise serious concerns about Cuba’s
role in human trafficking. We hope it will inspire countries who have
participated in the Cuban doctors program to condition any future participation on direct
payments to the doctors and other fair labor practices. It is clear that anyone who hears these stories
and continues to engage with the Cuban doctors program without insisting on fair labor practices
is complicit in these crimes. I want to thank Dr. Ramona Matos and Dr. Tatiana
Carballo for being brave enough to step forward today and share their story. There are many others who are not able to
speak for fear of retribution, either against them or their families, and you’ll hear
some stories of that retribution from the doctors here today. What they have endured in their time in the
medical missions program should not happen to anyone, and we sincerely hope that in sharing
their stories today it will help prevent others from suffering these atrocities in the future. Thank you very much. MS ORTAGUS: Thank you, DAS Filipetti, and
thank you for organizing this today. Now we’re going to hear from Dr. Tatiana
Carballo, who worked in Cuba’s medical missions program in Venezuela for seven years and in
Brazil. She left the program in Brazil, putting herself
and her family at risk. Dr. Carballo, would you please step to the
lectern and share your story about being recruited into the Brazil program, and then please describe
your time in Venezuela? DR CARBALLO: (Via interpreter) Good afternoon,
everyone. Thank you so much for the U.S. State Department
and for the Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba, and allowing us the opportunity to tell
our stories and let you know about the Castro regime. I graduated as a doctor in 1994 in the medical
– medicine faculty at Matanzas. So as the Cuban Government claim, education
is free, free of charge, therefore we are their property. So since we graduate, we get a menial, minimum
salary, and that’s where the story with the missions, with the medical missions, that’s
where that starts. First, we were sent to a country, to Belize,
for 11 months, supposedly under a contract, which was no contract at all. They claim for this to be voluntary and for
humanitarian purposes, and in none of the missions – whether it was Venezuela, Brazil,
or Belize – this was not voluntary at all. So in the Venezuela mission, it was under
military supervision, where we were restricted of – we were deprived from our freedoms;
we were deprived from engaging with local people from Venezuela. So we only got about 10 to 15 percent of the
monies that the Venezuelan Government was paying for our services. The rest of the money was being sent to an
account in Cuba. Many of us decided not to return to Cuba. This money didn’t go to our families. This money was seized and was frozen in accounts
by the Cuban Government. So in Venezuela we were in the very, very
difficult circumstances. We got pressure from the “coordinators,”
quote-unquote, who were nothing but agents of the government. So these security agents had us under constant
pressure, and what bothered me the most is that we had to falsify statistics, and also
we had to influence the general population to vote for the regime, either for Maduro
or Chavez. So after the mission in Venezuela – I myself
and many of us went there. I was there for seven years. Once this mission was over, the Brazil mission
was offered to us, and this was for people who had already undergone or went through
the Venezuela mission, which was like the starting point for the missions. PDVSA, which is the petrol company, the oil
company from Venezuela, they were the ones who were disbursing the money and making payments
for the mission. So Brazil was actually very different, because
this was actually being sponsored by PAHO, the Pan-American Health Organization. So we had to use the PAHO as intermediaries
in order to be – or participate in these missions. In Brazil, 75 percent of our earnings were
going to the Cuban Government, and 5 percent was going to Brazil. We only obtained the remaining to make us
whole or make the 100 percent of our fees. So the money that was going to Cuba – and
Ramona will talk about this – money that we were paying for our services in Brazil
was being sent to Cuba and was being deposited into an account that was frozen by the government. So in my case, we had been paid 1,200 reales,
or local currency. Regardless of the U.S. exchange rate, that’s
all we got. So in Brazil, each local government would
pay for things such as food, clothing, and other necessities. So in Brazil they have special conditions
where they actually allowed husband and wife and their children, their family unit. So in my case, I had – my son went there
for three years. He was a minor, so his visa was derived from
mine. So when I went back to Cuba in 2016, I was
forced by the government to sign a piece of paper which they called a contract stating
that, according to the Cuban conditions, my son had to return to Cuba every three months. He was not allowed to stay outside the country
for three years. And that was impossible because the air fare
from Cuba to Brazil is super expensive, and we had to pay out of pocket. So I decided to leave him in Brazil, basically
hiding at home, under the pressure of the so-called coordinators. I was tired of being subjected to all the
abuse, feeling like a slave. They withheld my passport. I got tired of all the pressure that they
were putting on us. I was exhausted and tired of lying, so I decided
to join the Cuban parole visas, and that’s why I’m here telling you my story. Thank you so much. (Applause.) MS ORTAGUS: Thank you so much, Doctor. Wonderful. Dr. Ramona Matos worked in Cuba’s medical
missions programs in Bolivia and in Brazil. Dr. Matos, will you please share your story
about your pay and restrictions? Then you can tell us about your escape and
what happened to your family. MS MATOS: (Via interpreter) Good morning. I am Ramona Matos Rodriguez. I specialize in family medicine. I went to two missions – one to Bolivia
in 2008, and the second one was in 2013 in Brazil. There is a lot to be told. I will briefly explain and tell you some of
my own experience as to what we went through, how we were basically being trafficked, and
how we were victims and exploited by the Cuban Government. So in 2008, I went to Bolivia, in small town
in the Amazons called San Agustin. When we went to Bolivia, we were handed a
red passport, which is an official passport. So we were, with this passport with us, stayed
with us for the nine hours of the flight. So as were doing immigration to get into Bolivia
at the airport, there was a state agent, a security agent from Cuba, who was taking away
our passports. So we basically worked without any identification. We were undocumented. We had no documents bearing our names. We had no passport, no ID whatsoever. So anything happened to us – suppose we
get hurt; we die – nobody would know who that person who died or got hurt or anything. No one would know our identity. They never explained to us the geographic
conditions that we had to endure in Bolivia. So it was never explained to us the issues
with the altitude. A few doctors or some of the doctors five
or six days into arrival got very, very ill. Some of them died due to cardio complications. What bothered me the most in that small town
in the Amazons was that every day I had to write in a piece of paper fake names, fake
ages and addresses of people. That was just statistics. So our handlers, these coordinators – we
were forced and required to collect all this fake information. And otherwise, we would be sent back to Cuba
without any of our earnings or salaries, what they call a broken mission. If we went through it, if we broke the mission,
that meant that we would lose all our earnings. So there was also – also medication-wise,
we had to see all these patients that did not exist. So we had to correlate the medication for
the care of the patients for patients that did not exist. So we had to destroy the medications. In 2013, I went to Brazil, in the Amazons
area at the company called Mais Medicos. That’s where I realized that this was all
a lie. We were getting $400 and $600 were being deposited
into a bank account in Cuba, which – monies that were actually frozen until you finished,
successfully finished and completed your mission. That’s when I went to the congress in Brazil
and I denounced the slaver-like work performed by Cuban doctors. They helped me a great deal. I had to request asylum in Brazil and also
here in the United States through the parole for medical practitioners. So when we got here, aided by the Foundation
for Human Rights, we were able to establish and set up a legal claim, and that’s why
we are here today. That’s it. (Applause.) MS ORTAGUS: Thank you so much, Dr. Matos,
for sharing your story. Thank you. Now I’d like to invite Assistant Administrator
John Barsa to the lectern. MR BARSA: Thank you for the opportunity to
be here today. The disturbing accounts that we’ve heard
from Dr. Carballo and Dr. Matos is really just the tip of the iceberg. Like DAS Filipetti, I’ve had the opportunity
to sit down with both of them and engage in conversation. And what you hear about the details, about
the entire process, what they’ve gone through, it’s truly horrifying. They studied medicine to be doctors, to be
healers, to dedicating their time and talent to others. And from what we’ve heard of today, the
Cuban regime’s exploiting them, making them sell their services. This business of forced labor is the functional
equivalent of modern-day slavery. It constitutes the regime’s largest source
of revenue, and it’s a primary means of spreading their influence and propaganda internationally,
as we’ve heard as well. So you have to realize, while these skilled
doctors are sent to work in other countries, allegedly for pennies on the dollar, Cubans
on the island themselves struggle to find adequate healthcare and other basic services. The people of Cuba are deprived of essential
healthcare while the regime exports the island’s human resources, medications, and medical
supplies in the name of profit, all the while the regime touting the false narrative that
it treats its citizens with the best medical care in the world. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. So what we are calling on is independent journalists,
social media, bloggers, inside Cuba and outside Cuba, to try to bring light to this horrible
practice that’s taking place right now in this modern-day age, expose this gross violation
of human rights, let the world know about what – these crimes. So as Dr. Matos did, what she was able to
do in Brazil – she was able to go to entities within Brazil to bring light of this. It’s certainly difficult for independent
journalists and NGOs to operate within Cuba. What we have right now is, with this practice
of human trafficking, it’s taking place in foreign countries where NGOs, human rights
activists, journalists have more access and more ability to expose this. So we are calling on, again, journalists,
activists, civil society organizations to bring light to this in these countries, wherever
it takes place. We also encourage civil society groups to
combat the forced labor and trafficking in persons by supporting and advocating for the
victims themselves. We ask you to raise awareness through your
networks in the international community. Let the world know about these crimes, about
the human rights victims, the doctors. Thank you very much. (Applause.) MS ORTAGUS: Thank you, Assistant Administrator
Barsa. Ambassador Trujillo, we welcome your remarks. AMBASSADOR TRUJILLO: Thank you, and good morning. It’s an honor to be here. And I would like to congratulate the courageous
doctors who have taken the time to be here. Listening to their story definitely inspires
all of us. I think it’s important today to draw attention
for not only here in the United States but also for the international community of all
the violations of human rights that are taking place in Cuba and how these violations are
being exported across America. These powerful stories of injustice should
move you and the organizations and country in which you represent. And I think our call today is very, very clear. I had prepared remarks that go into the depths
of this program, but what we’re really asking here is for a lot of the countries, the majority
of whom are democracies and share the same values, respect human rights, who are continuing
to traffic and conduct these type of activities with Cuban doctors in their countries to please
stop. Our message is very powerful. Across the Americas, there are multiple countries
that continue to have these programs. Brazil has renounced that program; President
Bolsonaro mentioned it in his speech. Other countries have that same obligation. The stories that you’ve heard today should
not continue to take place. They should have never happened, and it’s
a tragedy that right now, as we stand here with these four doctors, there are thousands
of others who are in the same position across the world. So to our friends and to the countries who
celebrate democracy, to the countries who honor human rights, to the civil society groups
that defend them, you have a duty to stop this awful behavior. Thank you. (Applause.) MS ORTAGUS: That was very moving. Thank you, Ambassador. I would now like to invite Ambassador John
Richmond to the lectern. AMBASSADOR RICHMOND: The crime of human trafficking
destroys human dignity. It is a crime that attacks the basic idea
that everyone has inherent value. I am so grateful that the United States Congress
created an office within the State Department to focus on human trafficking, and it’s
a great honor to get to serve as the United States ambassador for this issue of human
trafficking, which at its heart is all about freedom. It’s this idea that everyone should be free
to make the most basic decisions about their lives, that they get to decide when they wake
up in the morning, where they work, and who touches their bodies. I am deeply concerned, and you’ll see reflected
in this year’s Trafficking in Persons Report from the United States State Department, that
Cuba has been downgraded to tier three, which is the lowest level of our ranking system
regarding trafficking in persons. It was downgraded for its failure to meet
minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and for making no significant efforts to do
so. Despite persistent allegations that Cuban
officials had threatened and coerced some participants to remain in the medical program,
the government took no actions to address forced labor in its medical foreign missions. In fact, the United States State Department
has documented indicators of human trafficking in Cuba’s overseas medical missions each
year since 2010, including in this year’s Trafficking in Persons Report. Forced labor, which is also referred as labor
trafficking, encompasses a whole range of activities, from recruiting, harboring, transporting,
and providing individuals, whether it’s through force, threats of force, psychological
coercion, abuse of legal process, deception, holding people’s identity documents, threats
to their family members or third parties. Traffickers, whether they’re traffickers
as individuals, traffickers as organized gangs, or traffickers as state-sanctioned forced
labor – that traffickers are using nonviolent coercion to compel people to engage in work
or to compel people to engage in commercial sex acts, and this must stop. To date, the Cuban Government has not made
serious and sustained efforts, and we call on them to do so. We also look to governments around the world,
that they can in host countries investigate these crimes, gather information about indicators
of trafficking, and where cases of trafficking occur that they can focus on those. The bottom line is that we want to keep freedom
and human dignity at the center of our foreign policy, and we want to call on governments
around the world to join us in that effort. I am grateful for the courage of the physicians
that spoke here today, grateful for their voice, their willingness to share their stories. It’s an honor to be here with them today. Thank you. (Applause.) MS ORTAGUS: So we’re now going to go into
our Q&A portion. We’re going to be able to take a few questions,
but I’m going to take the liberty of actually asking the first question. So to Dr. Matos, when you were in Bolivia,
how did you manage the medicines and the patient lists, and what instructions were you given
about recordkeeping? MS MATOS: (Via interpreter) So when I was
in Bolivia, the advice was the bosses, the handlers, who were not physically in that
town, they demanded report at 6:00 p.m. In that report, you had to write down that
you had seen as a minimum 30 patients a day. I was shocked by that when I got there. The first day that I went to work, I realized
that no one was going there for health care. And I asked my fellow doctor who was there
too – I asked her, how do you see 30 patients a day? She said, well, you’ll figure it out. That day I called my boss at 6:00 p.m. I told
him I haven’t seen any patients. “You have to send me 30 names with 30 patients. You have to make them up. You have to make up diagnosis.” And that’s what I did that one month that
I was there. If I didn’t do that, I would be sent back
to Cuba with a revoked mission and I’d be punished, and no access to the money that
was being deposited into the account in Cuba. I witnessed at the pharmacy, since we had
no patients, all the excess medication had to be disappeared. We burned it or we got rid of it any way possible
because the Cuban Government, they had to justify the medication being used for those
30 fake patients. That medication was to be used for them, but
there were no patients. MS ORTAGUS: So these stories are just so incredibly
brave. I’ve been really honored to be here today. I’m now going to turn it over to journalist
Q&A. I have my very capable brand new deputy, Cale
Brown, who just joined the State Department, who’s going to take over for me from here. Thanks, Cale. MR BROWN: Thanks, Morgan. Okay, so we have time for a few questions. Yes, first hand up. QUESTION: Hi. Ariela Navarro from Agence France-Presse. Thank you very much for this opportunity. So I have one question for the doctors and
another ones for U.S. officials. My first question is: What happened when you
defect the program, when you abandon? What are the consequences? And what happened to the money that was frozen,
or if you could explain us that? And for the U.S. official, I would like to
know if there is a program to help these professional to keep being doctors here in the U.S. and
keep their healing vocation. Thank you. MS MATOS: (Via interpreter) So the first question
was, “What happened with the money”? QUESTION: The second. That was the second. MS MATOS: (Via interpreter) So the monies
were not given to our families. They stayed in Cuba, frozen, our earnings. Part of the money, a small amount, was given
to us in the host country. The other money was going to Cuba, and for
defecting or leaving the mission, we were penalized eight years, even though we were
so-called volunteers. And your second question, if there’s a program
to help us get – to be able to practice medicine in this country, the answer is no. MS FILIPETTI: Sorry, I’m just going to – I’m
going to add one point to that. MS MATOS: Yeah, okay. MS FILIPETTI: Yeah, so, I mean, the issue
is a lot of the – when the doctors flee these programs, as was described, a lot of
them have had their papers stolen from them and so on. So we’ve had – throughout U.S. history,
we’ve had a number of different programs to try to ensure that Cubans do have a place
here in the United States. So we continue to have programs like the Cuban
Adjustment Act and others to facilitate their travel here. And so it is important to us that we are assisting
them when they come to the United States. We don’t have any specific programs in terms
of facilitating their continuation of being doctors here. But obviously, they have come to this country. We’re trying to make sure that we’re drawing
attention to the issue so that we can stop this practice so that they can actually serve
as doctors in the countries where they’d like to serve as doctors as opposed to being
trafficked wherever the Cuban Government tells them to go. MR BROWN: Thank you. Second question over here. QUESTION: Carla Angola, the – from EVTV
Miami. I want to know who of them were in Venezuela. (Via interpreter) If you can tell us what
exactly you have to live there, experience there, and if some ideology thing were part
of the program inside those locations. (In Spanish.) MR CRUZ: (Via interpreter) Good morning. I am Fidel Cruz. I am also a Cuban doctor who is part of this
lawsuit. I was in Venezuela from 2011 to 2014. While I was there, we went through the Chavez
election and also Maduro’s election. So while I was there, we were influenced and
forced by the so-called representatives, the – or Cuban Government or the agents to talk
to each patient that we saw about the benefits and all the positive things of the Maduro
regime and government and to influence their vote. Especially and specifically for the Maduro
elections, I was on the streets knocking door to door, encouraging people to go to vote,
to go to the electoral polls and vote for Maduro. We had to write a report for our bosses, our
handlers, where we had to show statistics as to how many of those patients that we saw
we were actually able to take to the polls, and how many of them actually voted for Maduro’s
regime. I think that answered your question. QUESTION: (Via interpreter) So the question
was: “Do you get any incentives for your patients? Do you have to bribe them as to treatment
for them or medications in exchange of their vote?” MR CRUZ: (Via interpreter) Yes, we had to
incentivate (ph) them and remind them that it’s thanks to the government and the Maduro
regime that you are getting healthcare services, healthcare medicine, and so on. MR BROWN: Thank you. Next questions. QUESTION: Yeah. Ellen Wulfhorst with the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Two-part question. One, could you elaborate a little bit – I
guess of the doctors – on what legal claims you’re seeking, from whom, that – the
lawsuit that I think Dr. Matos mentioned? And then for the U.S. officials, I’m just
kind of curious, what countries are still sponsoring the Cuban medical missions, and
what steps have been taken to ask them to stop? MR BROWN: If you could start with the second
part of that? MS FILIPETTI: The second question? Yeah, that’s a great question, and obviously,
with the amount of money that we’re seeing come into the Cuban regime, it’s clear that
this program is continuing across the world. So we’re doing an in-depth analysis right
now of exactly where it’s taking place, but we assess that there’s at least 66 countries
around the world that are utilizing this program. I do think it’s – for some of those countries
like Brazil, for example, they have come forward to insist on fair labor practices, and after
insisting on that, the Cuban regime decided to end the program. So rather than engage in providing support
for the people of Brazil who needed it, they decided, well, since we can’t traffic these
doctors and benefit off of their labor, then we’re not going to engage. So we’re doing a sort of outreach campaign
to all of our posts to try to identify where these doctors are operating exactly to understand
the nature of those agreements, and then we’re putting on events like this
as well as private engagements to make it clear to them exactly what is going on in
these programs so that they can’t say that they weren’t aware that it was human trafficking. And we know that a lot of these countries
do need medical support, but again, that cannot be done through forced labor. And so we’re trying to find other ways that
we can help them in identifying other opportunities to get medical care to their countries without
using the program that uses slave labor. MR DUBBIN: I’m Sam Dubbin, I’m the attorney
for the four doctors in the federal lawsuit. They asked a question about the – MR BROWN: Yeah, we could answer that question
shortly afterwards, all right? Next question. QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Just like for
journalists, when we are in Cuba, in Cuba there’s – our families, they suffer the
consequences, threats, and so on. So is this the same case for the doctors who
abandoned the mission? And what happens to your families? MS RIVERO: (Via interpreter) So my name is
Rusela Rivero. I also form part of this lawsuit, and I myself,
I am a victim of this prosecution – or persecution. I have two children; they’re both doctors. My oldest son, he graduated, he became a doctor
five years ago, and he basically lost his job. He’s working now as an exterminator. He goes with extermination technicians from
all over the place doing exterminating work. He was – he’s not allowed to have consults
or see patients, and he asked me what happened, and I’m – myself, I’m in shock, and
I asked, and the only answer that he gets is that, “You know why this is happening
and you have to comply with the plan.” And he has – he can, like, withdraw himself
from working, which he cannot because he needs to support himself. So it’s a really dire and difficult situation
that he’s going through just because he is my son. So my second son, he graduated as a doctor
in August of this year. When it came time for job placement, he was
sent to a rural, faraway area on the outskirts, a
city called Guama, far, far away. We are from Santiago; we are from the city Santiago of Cuba. He does work as a doctor; he works in a doctor’s
office. His fellow students, people who graduated
with him, they actually got placed in the city in Cuba. When he asked why he couldn’t get placement
in the city, they told him, “Well, that’s what you get, that’s what you have to do,
and that’s the end of it. Just take it.” That’s the way they work. There’s no explanations; you just have to
do it. MR BROWN: Okay. I think we have time for one more question. QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Do you think you
see your children as bargaining chips is the way of the regime to silence you? MS RIVERO: (Via interpreter) Absolutely, they
are using me, my children, they’re trying to silence me. It really breaks my heart and it’s hard
for me to admit it, but there is no way that I am going to be silenced. Thank you. MR BROWN: Thank you so much for your participation. Again, I want to thank Doctors Carballo, Matos,
Sarabia, and Cruz for their unwavering courage and personal sacrifice
in raising global awareness about the exploitation perpetrated by Castro’s regime. Your stories are truly remarkable. And thank you, guests, for
your participation. This concludes the event. # # #

12 thoughts on “New York Foreign Press Center Briefing on “A Call to Action: Abuses in Cuba”

  • Can we please fix America before worrying about Cuba. Our pharmaceutical companies are MURDERERS. We have more death from the treatment of health issues than the actual health issues. Suicide rates through the roof. Please let's concentrate on our own problems. How did they get here and speak out if it is so dangerous?

  • Can we hear from some soldiers that perhaps feel that being sent abroad against their will for oil and profits not the defense of Americans as they were sworn to do? How about that medical care when they get back home? 100,000 suicides of American soldiers says there needs to be a call to action right? Dont we need to hear THEIR stories?

    At least they were able to go through a fantastic doctoral program before coming here. What could Americans do with a DOCTORATE, you think we could parlay that into something valuable for ourselves? Perhaps we could, a visa to a country better suited to our value system would definitely improve someone life. Even if it's only 4 people.

  • I cringe when people spend their vacation money in those places like Cuba or the middle east..places where they hold their own people down and yet rake into their own coffers the tourist industry wealth

  • Firstly learn English and then see if there is a way to write your medical exam to qualify..both allowing you to practice medicine and ensuring your qualifications are at American standards


  • What utter tripe! But what would you expect from these habitual liars. After storms in the US, Venezuela actually sent aid to the US! These people are disgraceful.

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