Friday, August 19, 2005

Hope of Becoming Doctors Brings US Youth to Cuba

Agencia Cubana de Noticias

Havana, Aug 18 (AIN) A group of low-income and minority youth from the US have come to Cuba to begin their medical studies in Havana thanks to a unique program offered by the island - free of charge.

This latest group of American students landed in Havana on Thursday accompanied by Reverend Lucius Walker, founder of the Pastors for Peace religious organization, which recently led a caravan of humanitarian aid to Cuba.

The student's arrival coincides with this week's graduation at Havana's Latin American School of Medicine of 1,498 doctors from Africa and the Americas, a figure that includes US physicians Walker pointed out that more than 30 million people in the United States - the richest nation in the world - have no access to public healthcare.

Cuba is offering low-income and minority youth from the US the chance to study medicine at the Latin American School with the sole condition that they return to lower-income and depressed communities to offer their professional services.

The med school's current registration totals 9,692 students from 27 countries, of which 65 are US citizens, said school officials who described that figure as an expression of Cuba's willingness to cooperate with other nations, including the US.

Meanwhile, the Bush administration continues to impose a stiffened economic, commercial and financial blockade on Cuba which dates back for more than 40 years and which has translated into human suffering, scarcity and economic losses in the billions of dollars to the Cuban people.


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