Debunking the Myth of Cuba’s Medical Brigades in Latin America

On September 29 at 12:00 PM EDT, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) and Florida International University’s Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs are pleased to co-host an online event on Debunking the Myth of Cuba’s Medical Brigades in Latin America.

Register here.


The Cuban government exports about 40,000 physicians around the world. Such services represent the leading source of foreign currency for the island, amounting to nearly $6.4 billion in 2018. “Internationalist missions” were originally articulated as a form of “white-coat diplomacy” to secure alliances with developing countries. The strategy has evolved in the early 21st century, becoming a major source of revenue for the Cuban government. Serious accusations have been raised regarding the violations to the human rights of the “cooperating” physicians, who working conditions have been considered by many as a form of forced labor.

During this event, Elaine Acosta González will talk about her report on the topic, which describes the origins, evolution, and current status of Cuban medical brigades in nine countries, including Venezuela, Ecuador, and Brazil. It examines the Cuban government’s strategy of exporting medical services, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as its possible impact on the island’s health system.


  • Elaine Acosta González, Visiting Scholar, Cuban Research Institute
  • Dr. Carlos Ponce, Senior Fellow and Director of Latin American Programs, Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation
  • Sebástian Arcos, Associate Director, Cuban Research Institute (moderator)