Some 200 young Colombians — mostly former FARC members and campesinos — arrived in Cuba to begin their studies at the Latin American School of Medicine as part of the offer made by Cuba after the peace accord between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
The Cuban government is set to grant 1,000 annual scholarships in the next five years for students from Colombia, which will include aspiring doctors that had to postpone their training due to the armed conflict of more than 50 years in their country.
The medical students arrived at Jose Martí International Airport where they were received by the dean of ELAM Antonio Lopez. Authorities say this is a contribution of the Cuban government to the implementation process of the peace deal which was negotiated and reached in Havana.
"The opportunity to be in Cuba is great because the health system model developed here is to serve the human being, always trying to prevent diseases and that seems fantastic," Duerney Perez, a young student told Prensa Latina.
Student doctors will be trained in accordance with the Cuban family medicine model so that they may return to Colombia once they've graduated to improve and fortify primary health care for the underserved.
Between July 19 and Aug. 16, according to Colombia Informa, the student beneficiaries — residing in Transitional Standardization Zones or in the countryside — were chosen to begin medical study in September.
"I come from the department of Caqueta, very affected by the violence that the war created," Perez said.