CARACAS, Monday February 22, 2010 | Update
Seven Cuban doctors sue Cuba and Venezuela over "modern slavery"
Monday February 22, 2010  01:41 PM

Seven Cuban doctors and a nurse sued Cuba, Venezuela and the state-run oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (Pdvsa) for alleged conspiracy to force them to work in conditions of "modern slaves" in order to pay off the Cuban debt with the Venezuelan government for oil supply.

The defendants "intentionally and arbitrarily" held the health staff in "debt servitude" and the staff became "economic slaves" and "political advocates," according to the complaint filed in the United States, Efe reported.

The charges were made last Friday in a Federal Court in Miami by doctors Julio César Lubian, Ileana Mastrapa, Miguel Majfud, María del Carmen Milanés, Frank Vargas, as well as John Doe and Julio César Dieguez, and the nurse Osmani Rebeaux.

In the complaint, the leading defense attorney Arístides Cantón argued that the plaintiffs travelled to Venezuela in "deceit" and "threats," and were forced to work unlimited hours in a social welfare program known as "Mission Barrio Adentro," in areas with high rate of crime.

Venezuelan reservoirs in critical conditions

According to forecasts made in August by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), repercussions of El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon would be enhanced at least until March 2016.

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