Heidi V. Jimenez and Joaquin F. Molina Leza, architects of the Cuba/OPS/Brazil’s agreement denounced of slavery

Prisoners Defenders




  • According to the leaks received by PD from internal PAHO information at the highest level, these would point to its Legal Council in Washington, Heidi V. Jimenez, an American citizen of Latin origin, as a key person who would have negotiated, endorsed and followed up on the agreement with Brazil and Cuba that Director General Carissa F. Etienne was “bound to sign and accept” (version of the informant that we cannot subscribe to), and who even signed some of its terms (see Term of Adjustment of Mais Médicos signed by Heidi V. Jimenez and watch the signing of the agreement on video -see alternative link, if removed from You Tube, and it is also in the Web Archive audit service-, where Heidi V. Jimenez stands indicating where to sign the signatories and then behind them) and which she personally followed up. PD has contacted PAHO, including Heidi V. Jimenez, and has declined to make a statement.
  • According to the aforementioned sources, the role of the dentist Joaquín Felipe Molina Leza, a Cuban official also on “mission” abroad, would have been better known and predictable, and was contained in the complaint, as he had a meteoric career later at PAHO after being immersed by Cuban State Security in the Cuban Ministry of Public Health.
  • As PD demonstrated with official information in the denunciation (See), the Mais Médicos Program meant the retention, by PAHO, of 5% of the salary of all Cuban doctors in the Mais Médicos program in Brazil, billing 2.564 million dollars, according to its own internal audit, with a net profit for such retention calculated by PD in 128 million dollars, which equally allowed Cuba to retain exploitative amounts from doctor’s salaries (an additional 86% from 2013 to 2015, and an additional 70% thereafter), and by which Cuba imposed restrictive conditions to the most basic freedoms of the doctors on mission, that the UN Rapporteurships on Trafficking in Persons and on Forced Labour reported as “forced labour” and “modern slavery”.
  • The conditions covered by the Mais Médicos Program were imposed by the official contracts (view contract 1, view contract 2) of the Cuban doctors’ program, in which could be read doctors were compelled to:

“…To comply, as far as their actions are concerned, with the provisions of Resolution No. 168 “Disciplinary Regulations for Cuban Civilian Workers Serving Abroad as Collaborators”, dated March 29, 2010“, a Cuban Law that only needs a cursory reading to prove its slave-like conditions, and which has been explicitly denounced by the United Nations and Human Rights Watch, among others.

“…To comply with the Cuban legislation to contract marriage with a foreign natural person, not being exonerated from the compliance of the obligations derived from the referred LEGAL INSTRUMENT and from the present Contract, unless otherwise determined by previous authorization, in writing, from the highest Directorate of the Cuban Medical Mission in Brazil“, which prevented them from getting married in Brazil, in flagrant violation of Brazil’s fundamental legislation, in order to prevent them from obtaining residency and thus being able to escape from the mission, and for which some Cuban doctors had to go to court to be allowed to marry and others were never able to do so (See court cases of Yusley Moreno Torres and Adrián Estrada Barber). [1] [2] [3]

“in the face of the abandonment of the mission; refusal to return to the Cuban national territory and/or any other serious indiscipline by the CUBAN HEALTH PROFESSIONAL, will observe the legislation in force in the Republic of Cuba to establish the claims and legal actions that correspond with the objective of settling the debts and pending obligations of the CUBAN HEALTH PROFESSIONAL and will enforce the provisions of the LEGAL INSTRUMENT and the Brazilian legislation, regarding the prohibition of the CUBAN HEALTH PROFESSIONAL from practicing the profession in Brazilian territory.” Cuba’s Penal Code imposes an 8-year prison sentence on anyone who leaves the mission or does not return to the country.

  • In addition, as reported by the Wall Street Journal and Cibercuba, Heidi V. Jimenez and Joaquin Felipe Molina Leza, would have participated in documented meetings (see) where they would have taken knowledge of the conditions and, in the face of the judicial demands derived from the enslavement of Cuban doctors who fled the slavery program, Jimenez would have, personally, and “on her own” (a version from the informant that PD cannot subscribe), committed a surprising response by PAHO at the IX Brazil-Cuba-PAHO Tripartite Meeting held in the institution’s representative offices in Havana, between February 9 and 10, 2017. If the reported official minutes released by the Brazilian government in a judicial process are faithful as disseminated by Emmy award-winning investigative journalist José Alberto Gutiérrez in Cibercuba, and by Wall Street Journal’s Bastiat Award and David Gleaner Award winning journalist Mary Anastasia O’Grady, Heidi V. Jimenez, who never responded publicly to the accusations from these media, would have allegedly acted, on behalf of PAHO, in collusion with the labour cornering of the Cuban doctors who defected the Mais Médicos program. In other words, she would have contributed to their persecution. Thus, in the given minutes of the meeting it can be read “once a doctor leaves the [Mais Médicos] program, he is disassociated from the Cuban National Health System. On the basis of international agreements signed between the parties, the doctors cannot be hired individually by Brazilian institutions. (…) “It is a violation of the contract between the Parties to allow doctors who are not part of the program to work in Brazilian public institutions” (…) and in agreement No. 16 of the act they agreed “to transmit to the secretaries of health of the 27 states, and these in turn to the municipalities, the need to stop the hiring of doctors who no longer belong to the [Mais Médicos] program. The representative of the Brazilian Ministry of Health, Dr. Wellington Mendes, was more explicit, indicating that action by PAHO and the Cuban government was required concerning the legal causes on course, “since otherwise, it would oblige by force of law to comply with the judicial demands, and that is what the Brazilian government does not want to do,” to whichDr. Heidi Jiménez, in turn, committed herself on behalf of PAHO to prepare a response presented to the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Relations in order to enforce the international obligations of all the parties”, that is, those previously mentioned in this paragraph: the labour market access impediment of Cuban doctors in Brazil after disengaging from the program.
  • According to the above-mentioned minutes with their argued veracity by the above-mentioned media, without entering PD in such veracity affirmation, the document that CONASS and CONASEMS would have committed to make in order to present it to the Brazilian Judiciary, incited by the Cuban government to declare without place the judicial demands of the victims in process, by then 35 demands, would constitute, if confirmed, a flagrant violation of the principle of judicial independence enshrined in the Brazilian Constitution and international law, a violation which, if the meeting and minutes were true, would have been declared in the presence of all those present without repudiation by any of the present, included the OPS officials HEIDI V. JIMENEZ E JOAQUIN F. MOLINA LEZA.
  • It would be missed in the aforementioned document of the minutes of the meeting, moreover, that the PAHO representation had made explicit the need to talk, in addition to other actors, with the Cuban doctors affected, direct victims of the process, and not only with the Cuban or Brazilian side, which by definition serve opposing interests. Respect for human rights is a preeminent condition in the Conventions signed by international organizations, so that they are not nullified by, among others, the Vienna Convention, and this action of hearing the victims should have been the only alternative to manage if PAHO wanted to preserve the vitality of the Programme for the poorest and most vulnerable in Brazil.
  • This action of not allowing Cuban doctors to work anymore was called “slave labour” by a Federal Judge of Brazil in the sentence of Process No. 63318-15. 2016.4.01.3400, [4]in which the federal judge ruled that the fact that the “foreigner with the right to remain in Brazil, already recognized, is obliged to continue being bound by the individual contract signed by him with the CSMC, S.A. is to extract completely from that relationship the voluntariness, which would equate it to a form of slave labor, which, by all means, cannot be admitted“.

Act against the slavery practices of the Cuban Medical Missions

Personalities from the world of moderate and democratic politics from the left, the center and the European and Latin American Christian Democrats met at a press conference on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 (See full press conference) and supported the need to take action in this regard.

Among them, the Vice-President of the European Parliament, Dita Charanzová, the MEPs Javier Nart and Leopoldo López Gil.

Likewise, the national parliamentarians of Spain, Carlos Rojas, and Argentina, Graciela Ocaña (former minister of Argentina under the presidency of Cristina Fernández) and Lucila Lehmann.

International legal experts such as Blas Jesús Imbroda, member of the General Council of Spanish Lawyers and Dean of the Bar Association of Melilla, also spoke. Also present was Edel González Jiménez, President until 2018 of the Provincial Judicial Power of Villa Clara, in the Republic of Cuba, who made an emotional and moderate appeal to his former colleagues of the State of Cuba to immediately stop this procedure with the Cuban professionals on mission.

From the hands of its Managing Director, the institution Prodie Santé, present in the 5 continents, presented a project that has more than 2000 doctors who have suffered this persecution and with whom it has created the first Free International Medical Brigade, a project based on integration, solidarity and health.

Documents submitted

At the press conference, the complaints and summaries of complaints to the International Criminal Court and the United Nations were presented in 4 languages: Spanish, French, English and Portuguese (Brazilian).




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[1] Judgment case 1002021-35.2017.8.01.0000 “Tribunal de Justiça – Segunda Câmara Cível” of the State of Acre, digitally signed by the judge: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1VScsuWocqlzKhU99GWeyUp8GMQ3MLySb in which a judge, faced with opposition to the marriage under the agreement with Cuba by the Acre Prosecutor and Civil Registry Officer of the District of Feijó, had to intervene by signing: “the contractual clause [of the contract between the plaintiff and the Cuban company CSMC, S.A.] restricting the applicant to marriage in Brazil does not comply with the provisions of Article 7 of the Law of Introduction to the Norms of Brazilian Law,” and “the contract [between the applicant and CSMC, S.A.], which is purely patrimonial in nature and entered into between legal entities of private law, does not have the power to impose on the norms of public order, depriving the contracting party of its capacity to perform acts of civil life.

[2] Cuban doctor wins right to marry in Brazil in court:
(alternative link: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1ES3IBtBD6yigDriFpf9X4lROecB45Nga)

[3] Cuban doctor in Brazil assures that they were “exploited” and that “many will stay”:

[4] Judgment of 10 July 2017, issued by the 9th Federal District Court of Brazil, Case No. 63318-15. 2016.4.01.3400:

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