Cuban medical workers defect from posts, aim for U.S.

This must be because cuba is so wonderful…

From The Houston Chronicle:

Dispatched by Fidel Castro’s government for humanitarian work in exchange for oil and other badly needed supplies, a small but growing number of Cuban medical personnel are using their foreign postings as stepping stones to the U.S.

The Bush administration is encouraging the defections. Last year, the Homeland Security Department, which oversees immigration services, modified rules to speed the doctors’ requests for political asylum.

Experts say the number of Cuban health workers abandoning clinics in Venezuela and other countries could rise as word spreads of the U.S.program, which began in August. So far, at least 45 Cubans have made their way to Colombia.

“The floodgates will definitely open,” said a spokeswoman for Solidarity Without Borders, a Miami-based group that helps Cuban physicians emigrate. “We’ve had calls from Cubans as far away as Namibia.”

About 360 doctors, dentists and physical therapists have applied under the new Cuban Medical Professional Parole program. About 160 have been accepted, while most other cases are pending, said Ana Carbonell, chief of staff for Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., a longtime advocate for Cuban exiles.

We owe the Cubans a debt we can never repay for abandoning them. We promised to help them over throw the government and then we didn’t do a thing and many died and others tossed in prison. Our lack of keeping our word and acting left those people living under a totalitarian communist regime.

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