Cuba vigorously confronts human trafficking for military recruitment purposes

Cuba has presented reports to multilateral organizations on these issues, and made clear its decisive policies and prevention actions, as well as the fierce confrontation against any type of activity that could lead to the aforementioned crimes.

The Cuban State maintains a practice of zero tolerance towards the crimes of human trafficking, illegal trafficking and mercenarism, which are classified as serious. Those who commit them receive sentences of 30 years in prison and life imprisonment.

In a report on the National Television News, Lieutenant Colonel Frank Hernández Estrada, head of the Department of the General Directorate of Criminal Investigation, of the Ministry of the Interior (MININT), stated that, after an investigative process, 17 people acknowledged their participation in human trafficking operations for military recruitment purposes.

Evidence is being worked on from their statements, messengers and networks created, which is why it was determined that three of them are directly linked to the coordination of a group that would be incorporated into the war conflict in Ukraine.

The rest were recruited in exchange for promises of material benefits such as salary payments, immigration legalization documents, plane tickets and stay in a foreign country.

According to the testimony of Pedro Roberto Camuza Jova, father of one of those involved, one of his children, a victim of deception, was recruited, is outside Cuba and the family does not know his whereabouts.

At the same time, he expressed his gratitude to the Ministry of the Interior for having detected, in the course of the investigations, the similar interests of a second son who was getting ready to leave, but he was dissuaded from committing an illegal act that, in addition, could cost him his life by being part of a foreign military conflict.

The report warned that the MININT is keeping the investigation process open, and is working on the neutralization and dismantling of networks or citizens who, from the national territory, participate in any form of human trafficking for the purposes of recruitment or mercenarism that implies that citizens Cubans use weapons against another country.

José Luis Reyes Blanco, chief prosecutor of the Directorate of Criminal Proceedings of the Attorney General’s Office of the Republic of Cuba, stated that these crimes are classified as very serious, because they affect legal assets of special significance and connotation for peace and international law.

«For a crime to be classified as mercenarism, two essential elements are met; one objective, defined as enlistment in a military formation to intervene in a war conflict anywhere, and another subjective, that of carrying out this type of action for a material benefit, such as salary or a personal and tangible advantage,” the jurist explained.

Typified in the Cuban Penal Code, both the current one and the previous one, he added that the seriousness of the crime is also due to the fact that it gives rise to questioning the position of the State in the face of war conflicts, and that the international community questions the firm position of interference in the internal affairs of other nations.

In this sense, Eva Yelina Silva Walker, director of International Law at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX), stated that Cuba plays an active role in the UN, in repudiation and condemnation of mercenarism, human trafficking and smuggling.

“We are committed to compliance with the international instruments to which Cuba is a State party, such as the United Nations Convention against transnational organized crime and its protocols on human trafficking and migrant smuggling.”

It assessed that human trafficking means the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons through the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, kidnapping, fraud, deception, abuse of power or a position of vulnerability. Also when payments or benefits are given or received to achieve the consent of a person who has control over another, for exploitation purposes.

For its part, human trafficking is the transfer to another country of those who do not have valid immigration documentation.

The MINREX official said that Cuba presents reports to multilateral organizations on these issues, and makes clear the decisive policies and prevention actions, as well as the fierce confrontation against any type of activity that could lead to the aforementioned crimes.

The interviewees agreed to highlight the firm and clear historical position maintained by the Cuban Revolution, characterized by rejecting the use of mercenaries.

They stated, categorically, that Cuba is not part of the war conflict in Ukraine.