Cuba’s Exploitative International Medical Missions: A Resource and Advocacy Guide

September 2021

For more than 60 years, Cuba’s revolutionary government has deployed tens of thousands of doctors and medical professional around the globe for “international medical missions” to mostly poor and developing nations to provide services and to help respond to humanitarian disasters. The Cuban government has long touted these international medical missions as a signature achievement demonstrating solidarity and goodwill.

However, this record has been blemished by frequent credible denunciations and allegations of grave abuses. Human rights experts and advocates have charged the Cuban government with engaging in a form of modern-day slavery because of its treatment of those who participate in the missions, who report wide-ranging violations of their rights, including being coerced into the missions, having their wages withheld, being forced to engage in unethical practices, and having their personal activities and freedom of movement strictly curtailed.

This “Critical Resource and Advocacy Guide” looks at this darker side of Cuba’s international medical missions as revealed by findings from independent researchers and hundreds of first-hand testimonies and complaints by Cuban doctors and other medical workers. The report and the recommendations it sets forth are intended to promote advocacy and other efforts to press the Cuban government to act to ensure that its medical missions program upholds the rights and dignity of its participants by complying fully with international human rights standards.

View the report: