Chavez and Castro further health ties
August 21, 2005
The Daily Journal
Chavez and Cuban President Fidel Castro, together hosting Sunday's version of the program "Hello President," pledged to offer medical care to 6 million Latin Americans over the next 10 years under the auspices of the "Sandino Agreement." 300,000 patients outside of Venezuela and the Caribbean would also receive operations in the next year, they said.
The two presidents settled on the figures after experiencing "a little confusion" in their calculations.
President Chavez was in Cuba to attend the first graduation of medical students from the Latin American Medical Science School on Saturday. Of the 1,610 students from 28 countries who received degrees, 51 were Venezuelan.
Around 20 leaders from around the region attended the graduation, including Panamanian President Martin Torrijos.
Chavez said that the Venezuelan airline Conviasa would dedicate an aircraft to carrying patents from around Latin America to receive treatment in Cuba.
Venezuela would set up its own Latin American school of medicine, similar to the school in Havana, which would "educate an army of doctors to fight against disease," Chavez said. He dedicated the school to Castro and the Cuban revolution.
The two leaders also promised to graduate around 100,000 medical students in the next 10 years.
"An atomic bomb has exploded for the life of the people of Latin America and the Caribbean," Chavez said.
The "Mission Milagro," which brings Venezuelan patients to Cuba for medical attention, celebrated its 50,000th patient to receive an operation in Cuba on Sunday. The patient, Angel Quintero Gomez, thanked Chavez and Castro on the program after receiving an eye operation.
JENS ERIK GOULD
Jens Erik Gould is a political, business and entertainment writer and editor who has reported from a dozen countries for media outlets including The New York Times, National Public Radio and Bloomberg News.