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Friday, December 08, 2006


More Cuban aid to the U.S.

Aid to the American people, that is. In July the Washington Post discovered that Americans are getting a free medical education in Cuba; today it's the turn of the New York Times. Some of the more interesting bits:
Tahirah Benyard, 27, a first-year student from Newark, said it was Cuba's offer to send doctors to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, which was rejected by the Bush administration, that prompted her to take a look at medical education in Cuba.

"I saw my people dying," she said. "There was no one willing to help. The government was saying everything is going to be fine."

Ms. Benyard hopes that one day she will be able to practice in poor neighborhoods back home.

Even before they were accepted into Cuba's program, most of the Americans here said they had misgivings about the health care system in their own country. There is too much of a focus on the bottom line, they said, and not enough compassion for the poor.
Naturally, a swipe at Cuba is mandatory:
Cuban-trained doctors must be able not only to diagnose an ulcer and treat hypertension but also to expound on the principles put forward by "el comandante."
And just what are those subversive principles?
"Offering good health care to the struggling masses."
Watch out. That's where it starts.
"In my country many see Fidel Castro as a bad leader," said Rolando Bonilla, 23, a Panamanian who is in his second year of the six-year program. "My view has changed. I now know what he represents for this country. I identify with him."

Fátima Flores, 20, of Mexico sympathized with Mr. Castro’s government even before she was accepted for the program. "When we become doctors we can spread his influence," she said. "Medicine is not just something scientific. It’s a way of serving the public. Look at Che."
Yup. It's started.

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