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Saturday, December 9th 2006

Castro Works To Cure World's Ailments

Hooray for the glorious comandante. Unfortunately the vast inroads these future Cuban trained physicians will make into curing disease, will come too late to save the man himself.

Castro has been providing free medical education to students from throughout the Americas for years. Would you go to a Cuban medical school, even if everything was paid for?

It was Castro himself who in the late 1990s came up with the idea for this school, which trains doctors from throughout the Americas, not just in the ABC’s of medicine but in the need for health care for the struggling masses.

90 or so from the United States, have jumped at the chance of a free medical education, even with a bit of socialist theory thrown in. “They are completing the dreams of our comandante,” said the dean, Dr. Juan Carrizo Estévez. “As he said, they are true missionaries, true apostles of health.”

The Americans in the program…insist that they want to be doctors, not politicians, when they graduate. They recoil at the notion that they are propaganda tools for Havana, as critics suggest. “They ask no one to be political,” said Jamar Williams, 27, of Brooklyn, who is a graduate of the State University of New York at Albany. “It’s your choice. Many students decide to be political. They go to rallies and read political books. But you can lie low.”

Some of the comments don’t really add up,

Benyard said she was rejected from several American medical schools but could not have afforded the high costs anyway. Like other American students, she was screened for the Cuba program by Pastors for Peace, a New York organization opposed to Washington’s trade embargo against the island.

Virtually every single student can secure complete funding through loans (commercial if you have expenses in the upper range of all med students). Saying you cannot afford it is complete and utter baloney.

As well, the word in the article doesn’t sound too promising concerning securing a practice in the United States once these kids graduate,

Whether her education, which is decidedly low tech, is up to American standards remains to be seen, although the first American student to graduate last year did pass his medical board examinations in the United States. Reached in California, he declined to say whether he had found a residency willing to take him in.

The emphasis is my own in the two quotes above. Physicians as social revolutionaries is noble in a way, and certainly has a history…

Can I Take A Look At That Rash?

…but you have to question this sort of “closed minded” ideological education that is being spewed in Cuba. And you have to question to quality of the medical education, despite the fact that Cuba has one of the world’s best health systems. Still, don’t let the HSPH article fool you, those infant mortality figures (& others) are self reported.