Senators urge Blinken to stop Cuba’s forced labor of medical professionals

by Seth Udinski

Seth Udinski, FISM News

Late last week, Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) urged Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a bipartisan plea to up the efforts against the indentured servitude of Cuban doctors, a little-discussed version of human trafficking that is apparently widespread on the island nation.

The Senators called on the Secretary of State to “significantly expand U.S. diplomatic efforts to end the cruel exploitation of approximately 50,000 Cuban medical professionals.”

The letter comes in the wake of an announcement from Mexico, Cuba, and Brazil in which they affirmed their position to continue to use the international Cuban medical leasing program, which many human rights groups claim fits the bill of modern-day slavery.

The senators claim that there is a wealth of damning evidence against the Cuban medical leasing program, which the Cuban government uses to assert power over its population by forcing doctors to work for little or no pay.

The Senators said in the letter,

Not only does the Cuban regime confiscate the passports, professional credentials, and salaries of the victims of these programs, they also threaten these professionals and their families should they attempt to leave … involvement in these missions is a clear violation of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and these nations’ own laws prohibiting forced labor.

Author’s Biblical Analysis

First, it should be noted: slavery is wrong, and the Bible condemns slavery. Christ said he came to bring freedom to the captives and the oppressed (Luke 4:18). The Christian worldview stands adamantly opposed to the practice of humans owning other humans. Contrary to the ill-informed opinions of revisionist historians, it was Christians who led the charge against the eradication of racial slavery in the Western World during the 19th century.

In fact, the Christian worldview blatantly espouses that our identity in Christ is infinitely greater than any class or social distinction. Because we all stand equally guilty before God, there is virtually no grounds to justify the ownership of one human being by another:

For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free —ourand have all been made to drink into one Spirit.  – 1 Corinthians 12:13

Christians see from these two Senators a valuable lesson in the sacredness of human life and the need to defend it. Additionally, let us not forget that this is a bipartisan effort. Some things are indeed more important than politics.

Obviously, we all agree slavery is bad. But there is a deeper practical lesson for Christians that we can learn from this report. The lesson is this: Defend the cause of the oppressed.

When an injustice occurs, Christians should be the first to come to the aid of the victim. Please understand: I am not calling for vengeance. Vengeance belongs to the Lord (Hebrews 10:30). Rather, I am calling for the upholding of justice, because this is a cause that is near to the heart of God.

Why should we do this? I will submit to you two reasons.

First, we do this because the Lord commands us to do it. If you have no other reason to do something other than “for the Bible tells me so,” that is a good enough reason to do it.

Second, we do this because this is what God has first done for us. When we were oppressed by the enemy of sin, trapped in torment with no hope of escape, God did not sit idly by. He intervened. He sent His Son to rescue and redeem us from our plight. If we have been so greatly rescued, should we not seek to do the same for others?

Furthermore, when Christians get engaged to uphold the cause of the oppressed, it gives us all the more opportunity to proclaim the gospel. As we seek to set physical captives free, we fight a greater fight: bringing freedom from sin to sinners.

Let us be about our Father’s business and show the same compassion and care to those around us, for we have first been shown such great love as well.

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.  – James 1:27