Revalidation of Cuban Medical Licenses Suspended in the United States

By Cafe Fuerte

Cuban doctors in Ecuador. Several members of these medical brigades are attempting to reach the United States to restart their careers.
Cuban doctors in Ecuador. Several members of these medical brigades are attempting to reach the United States to restart their careers.

HAVANA TIMES — Cuban medical doctors taking steps to revalidate their professional licenses in the United States are facing a new dilemma.

The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), the institution empowered to certify the medical licenses of foreign graduates, has announced that it will be unable to continue processing requests made by professionals from Cuba, Crimea and Sudan as a result of restrictions from the Treasury Department.

“The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury currently restricts interactions between U.S. organizations and entities in certain countries/regions, including Crimea, Cuba, and Sudan,” an ECFMG communiqué published on July 2 announced.

The Commission declared that it has requested OFAC licenses that will authorize processes related to the verification of medical credentials in these countries and to process the pertinent ECFMG certification and that, until it does not receive approval, it shall not proceed to offer services related to the revalidation of submitted credentials.

“We regret any inconvenience to our applicants and thank all of our clients for their patience and cooperation,” the communiqué added.

Processing Frozen

The OFAC refused to offer details regarding the processing of medical licenses.

The revalidation of Cuban medical licenses, however, has been put on hold, de facto, until further notice. This situation affects hundreds of doctors who were in the process of revalidating their degrees.

On Thursday, the Miami-based organization Solidadridad Sin Fronteras (Solidarity without Borders, SSF) called on local, state and federal authorities, requesting they find a quick solution to this problem.

Cuban medical doctors have also mobilized. On Monday, an open petition addressed to the ECFMG was published on the Internet. It requested an “immediate revision of these policies and restoration of normal services to Cuban applicants just like any other applicant from anywhere else in the world.”

The petition, which has collected over 800 signatures, draws attention to the fact a similar situation involving Iranian doctors was resolved effectively by the ECFMG in the past.

“It’s unjust to many medical doctors who have already invested thousands of dollars in their exams to revalidate their degrees in the United States,” SSF chair Julio Cesar Alfonso declared. The entity has worked to receive and guide Cuban and Latin American doctors who wish to revalidate their degrees in the United States.

Stranded in Third Countries

This Friday, SSF will offer a press conference before medical doctors to condemn the recent developments that have been preventing Cuban doctors from reinserting themselves into their professional practices.

Since the beginning of the year, hundreds of Cuban doctors have been stranded in third countries while waiting for a travel visa, after enlisting in the Cuban Medical Professional Program (CMPP), a refugee program for professionals who leave medical missions abroad, implemented by the US government in 2006. In addition to facing these delays, other doctors have met with travel restrictions after their visas were suddenly revoked before boarding the plane.

“We are completely convinced that all of these irregularities are related and we fear for the physical and moral integrity of our colleagues, stranded in third countries, as well as for the professional future of those who have arrived in this great nation legally, wishing only to offer their knowledge to the country, which is now facing the greatest medical professional deficit in the history of the United States, hoping only to contribute the experience that the American people dearly need,” the SSF communiqué announced.

The organization added that it has complete confidence in the clarity of the decisions made by US authorities and that, as such, it will publicly condemn any unjust action and will not tolerate “any assault on human rights or discrimination on the basis of origin or nationality by any private entity or individual that affects our colleagues.”

Cuban medical doctors can contact the ECFMG at (215) 386-5900 or via email, at [email protected].

2 thoughts on “Revalidation of Cuban Medical Licenses Suspended in the United States

  • Thank you, Rich, for your figures and your facts. With such strong evidence to counter the disinformation conspiracy by Moses, IC and Carlyle, I don’t suspect they will be coming around to challenge your statements here; however, if they do, I am ready to support you anyway I can.

  • NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt this week had a report on Heberprot-P, a new drug that cures dreaded foot diseases. It was invented by Cuba’s highly respected medical scientists. The President and CEO of one of America’s top cancer clinics — in Buffalo, New York — accompanied Governor Andrew Cuomo to Cuba recently and secured permission from Cuba for Americans to benefit from a new and proven cancer drug that other countries are taking advantage of, but back in the U. S. she is having to beg the U. S. government for permission to use it. The Cuban government has the world’s largest medical school, the Latin American School of Medicine, and Cuba has awarded free 6-year scholarships to thousands of poor students from the Americas and hundreds from the poorest areas of the United States of America. The Cuban government has funded a project called Operation Miracle that has provided free eye operations, restoring or improving eyesight, for thousands of poor people who otherwise would never see a doctor. The Cuban government has more doctors per capital than any country in the world, and thousands of doctors working in poor foreign countries. Again last week Margaret Chen, head of the World Health Organization, praised Cuba’s ubiquitous poly-clinics for Cuba having a lower Infant Mortality Rate than far richer nations, including the U. S. The World Bank last month praised Cuba for spending a much higher percentage of its GNP than richer nations, including the U. S. Yet, for six decades propagandists in the U. S. have successfully told Americans that the embargo should be kept and enhanced because every dollar that gets to Cuba goes in Fidel Castro’s pockets or his Swiss bank accounts. Such lies also encourage Americans to accept such things as the Bay of Pigs attack, the bombing of the civilian Cubana Flight 455, etc. Unchallenged and repetitious lies are extremely effective, in Banana Republics or even democracies, as the U. S. Cuban policy illustrates. As part of the unending regime change programs funded by the U. S. Congress, those Cuban doctors serving in foreign countries are constantly offered cash incentives to defect, not to aid Americans but to hurt Cuba. Cuba’s medical scientists have invented some of the best vaccines and drugs that treat cancer, foot disease, meningitis, diabetes, etc., etc. But the right-wing/Cuban exile dictation of America’s Cuban policy since 1959 mandates that Cubans on the island, Americans suffering from cancer and other diseases, America’s hard-working taxpayers, and countless other innocent people must be secondary to sating the insatiable appetites of a handful of Cuban-exiles and right-wingers who benefit revengefully, economically, and politically from a cruel Cuban policy that, as Peter Kornbluh and many other respected Cuban experts openly state, makes the U. S., in the eyes of the world, look like a “Banana Republic.” Yet, propagandists will wax eloquently about why that foot vaccine, that cancer drug, etc., should not be allowed to help Americans simply because they are Cuban vaccines and drugs. Another generation of Americans that acquiesces to such insanity seems willing to pass it on to our children’s generation and then our grandchildren’s generation.

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