Solidarity that transcends borders

By Alex Lopez Almaguer/ Radio Cadena Agramonte, Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Perhaps no one imagined that the devastating hurricanes George and Mitch in several regions of Central America and the Caribbean, in the year 1998, would prove once again the solidarity of the Cuban people in disaster situations and other contingencies.

These meteorological phenomena claimed lives, caused disappearances and millions of victims, in addition to the substantial damage to the economy, infrastructure and material resources; but in the face of this bleak picture, don’t forget the immediate response of the Cuban doctors who went to ease the pain of the affected communities.

A year later, motivated by these tragic events, was born at the initiative of the Commander in Chief Fidel Castro, who offered the opportunity to the young and humble coming from various parts of Latin America, Africa and the United States, to be trained as professionals of Medical Sciences on the largest island of the Greater Antilles.

This marked the founding of the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) in Havana. The first students, coming from Nicaragua, materialized, as well as the noble and solidarity gesture of the Government of Cuba, the bearer of the necessary political will to help other people.

The foundation of the ELAM is the historical continuity of a rich program of social assistance, which dates back to the beginnings of the Revolution, when it was necessary to send to Algeria, in 1963, an army of white coats to save lives in that nation.

While it is true that the Latin American students have lacked opportunities in their countries of origin; in Cuba, solidarity and fellowship entrench their professional training from a model based essentially in humanitarian law.

This project, which is part of the Comprehensive Health Care Program (PIS), embodies the dreams of those humble young people who study for a medical career, who at the end of six years will return to their communities to contribute to the sustainability of their health systems.

It is fitting and good that ELAM, after 16 years, consolidates the effort of the Cuban State to strengthen and expand the medical cooperation to several regions of the continent; proof of what a nation poor in economic resources, but rich in human capital and the spirit of integration and solidarity can achieve. (Photo: File)

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