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.
At first she agreed that I use her real name, that she had no problems with that at all. After all, living with HIV had driven her to help others – as a workshop facilitator giving talks and conducting seminars, or as a volunteer for local AIDS Service Organizations like Acción Solidaria (Solidary Action) and Mujeres Unidas por la Salud (Women United for Health, or Musa), a support group network for HIV-positive women. But when we were well into the interview, the realization that she might lose her private health insurance coverage made her change her mind.