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Anti-Castro bill would ban medical licenses for American doctors trained in Cuba

Two South Florida lawmakers are pushing for a law that would stop American doctors who studied in Cuba from receiving medical licenses in Florida.

Rep. Manny Diaz Jr., and Sen. Rene Garcia, both Hialeah Republicans, filed bills last week, seeking to clamp down on U.S. medical students who go to Cuba for training.

“U.S students who turn a blind eye to basic human and civil rights abuses in Cuba do not possess the moral clarity to serve patients in Florida” said Diaz in a statement. “The Fidel Castro medical scholarship program is purely a propaganda tool. Hopefully this legislation will stop American citizens from participating in Cuba’s medical apartheid system.”

The Cuban government offers a free medical training program that has drawn in thousands of students from around the world, including many from the United States.

If the bill pushed by Diaz and Garcia passes, any American student who goes to Cuba for training will not be able to get a medical license to practice in Florida.

The ban would not apply to those who trained in Cuba prior to coming to the U.S. According to Diaz’s press release it would only apply to “those who willingly go to Cuba to be used as propaganda tools by the Cuban government.”

Last year, Garcia pushed a bill that would prevent local governments from contracting with firms that had Cuban branches. Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill, but also said it could not be enforced, sparking backlash in the Cuban exile community in Miami. The measure led to a federal lawsuit and is tied up in court. 



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can't take anymore

Why aren't the fearless Diaz and Garcia conducting regular military commando raids of the nation of their birth? They would bravely deny health care to poor people in this country so they can show their ferocity to anything from post-1960 Cuba. Easier to relax in their comfortable chairs in the Florida Legislature wearing $2000 suits paid for by their lobbyist "friends" for "consulting" on bills they vote on.

Birgitta Wilson

Oh please, Manny Diaz and Rene Garcia, get a life.
You are beyond ridiculous...

Isn't everyone kind of tired of this stupid propaganda against Cuba?

We Canadians (who incidentally are FREE to travel to Cuba, unlike you unfortunate Americans) see a different picture there than the one you paint.


Now I've heard everything!!! --that these two S. Fl. politicians are trying to get this law passed in this state. I guess, for some people, the Cold War continues to rage. Extremist, right-wing politics in America has gotten really, really OLD!!

Elisabeth Goll, Berlin/Germany

From a neutral perspective the proposal by those two Republicans has just the "stone-age quality" as from Fundamentalists of any other sort. I guess these two have never visited other countries and never understood other cultures. From Europe their ideology seems outdated and arrogant like that of dinosours. And they even talk about "Cuba’s medical apartheid system" - this is not only as I can tell from many visits in Cuba, but this attribute "medical apartheid system" is adequate for the U.S.A., where I am working every year. It is strange, that such thought-/mindless folks like Diaz and Garcia get elected into public office...

Gordon Schiff

This is a wonderful humanitarian effort on the part of Cuba training doctors for parts of the world in need, including poor communities in the U.S. This bill shows how ridiculous these right wing legislators are and it's impossible to imagine that this could get any traction with sane and caring people in the U.S.

Jacques Chenail

I'm so frustrated by these "negativists" of whatever ilk. Let the pros prove their competence and drop that fascist(republican?)-like attitude. There are MANY people around the world who more than need medical support and who actually do not give a hoot about colour or provenance. Get over it guys, already! Get WITH the world reality program... or move OUT of the way of progress.

Wil Van Natta

The 1959 Cuban Revolution has solved many problems that the US and other countries cannot or will not solve.
The gangsters who were using Cuba prior to 1959 as their personal brothel want it back. These "polititians" are paid lackys of gangsters. For them to be speaking about morals while Florida is awash in drugs, poverty, child homelessness and massive amounts of people of color behind bars is beyond any need for comment.

Ruth   Leah

We visited Cuba 8 times between 1993 and 2003. Such a relaxed and community caring people. I am a nurse and have taught nursing in the USA and in New Zealand. I was impressed with their medical programs. We visited the Medical school and could only hope that some day our country would develope a similar peogram of training their young people to be doctors and sending them our to help in this world.
Instead we seem to spend money on military training of our young men and womenand we send them off to kill people. And many of us call our country a *christian* country......
Rep Diaz and Sen. Garcia should take a trip to Cuba.

Lewis Lubka

I have a son who got the scholarship and has spent three years at the Latin American Medical College in Havana. I visited him and saw the school in operation. There are 10,000 students there from South and Central America, Africa, the Middle East, Pacific Islands and many other countries.

If this is propaganda,it is the most wonderful propaganda that I can think of. There is a shortage of doctors in the world and more doctors need to be trained.

Shame on these reactionary legislators. I hope the rest of the Florida legislators have a humane outlook and defeat this Cold War tactic.

Alan Rankin

Sending out thousands of well-trained doctors to serve in hundreds of poor areas of the world (including parts of the USA)is propaganda. Yeah right. Srs Garcia and Diaz should spend a little time getting treatment in a Cuban hospital. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, there ain't no cure for stupid.


The "propaganda" charge actually belongs to the inept U.S. legislators who are so obtuse as to actually believe they are creating realistic legislation when it is really an exercise in STUPIDITY. As one respondent said, it is even exceedingly far from a CHRISTIAN attitude, which this country claims as its most prevalent source of representation. Shame on these two Florida legislators. Florida is actually becoming the blight of the country when it comes to judicious political behavior. For SHAME.

Theodore Haddin, Ph.D.

My family came to Tempa territory in 1805. The Old Tampa is now gone, but in its place are many in Tampa and elsewhere in Florida who have benefitted from free-flowing Cuban medical training. Let this free-flowing benefit continue, and welcome the training in Cuba with respect. And let legislators who still think there's a war on there, go, and find out for themselves what Cuba is doing for us and the world.

Tim D

Now get American doctors to work for 400 pesos a month and pay 25 pesos a pound for pork & it will work in the US. Source - National Geographic

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