Hundreds of Congolese medical students who survived the 2019 purge are leaving Cuba

A group of 274 doctors from Congo who trained in Cuba returned to that country after completing their studies.just over a quarter of the nearly 1,000 people studying medicine when in 2019, an uprising demanding better scholarship conditions in Havana and the payment of overdue scholarships This ended with the expulsion of more than a hundred people.

According to the official report of Prensa Latina, the graduates, mainly general practitioners and technicians, They will now begin the preparation phase in hospitals in their country.where they can gain experience before being hired and formally assigned.

According to Congolese media Brazza’s MagazineUpon arrival on December 31, they were greeted by the Minister of Higher Education, Research and Technological Innovation, Delphine Edith Emmanuel, along with the Chief of Cabinet of the Minister of Health and Population, Jean Ignace Tendele.

They were “reassured” by the owner, the report said: “I would like to assure you that all arrangements are being made for your professional integration,” she said, referring to concerns among recent graduates that they would not be able to secure employment in the near future . as much as possible.

According to Congolese media, Between 2013 and 2014, the national government sent more than 1,000 medical students to Cuba. to fill the shortage of medical personnel. The first group of graduates returned to the country in 2020.

Congolese students were at the center of an uprising that broke out at the University of Health Sciences in Havana in April 2019.after dozens of them demanded payment of scholarships owed to their country’s government.

The mass protest ended with the intervention of Cuban police and special forces.who used force and firearms against unarmed civilians, as reported on social networks.

Subsequently Cuba’s Ministry of Health (MINSAP) said such “undisciplined actions will not be tolerated.” and that “appropriate measures will be taken in accordance with applicable laws” on the island that led to the purge.

In June of the same year, Andrea Ngombet, global coordinator of Sassoufita, a civil society organization dedicated to promoting the rule of law and democracy in the Republic of Congo, told DIARIO DE CUBA: In May, 112 students arrested by authorities were deported to their home country.

Ngombeta said the Congolese government sent police and secret service officers to Cuba to escort the students.

This was reported by a Congolese source in Havana. Cuban authorities will be obliged to comply with the Geneva Treaty and avoid deportation., given the dangers students will face in the Congo. However, the government of Miguel Diaz-Canel agreed to expel them.

“This is a shame for Congo and Cuba,” Ngombet criticized.

The student protest movement in Cuba was divided by political pressure, explained global coordinator Sassoufi. Until March 2019, Congolese students in Cuba had accrued 27 months of scholarship arrears, but after the demonstrations they were paid 12 months.

“The fear is that once the students are in the Congo, they will be lost and the government will wash its hands of them by saying they don’t know where they are,” Ngombet warned.

Besides the rebels, Havana and Brazzaville would agree to repatriate other scholarship recipients for “poor academic performance.”

Hundreds of foreign students study in Cuba in various fields, many of them receive scholarships funded by the governments of their countries. This is an important source of resources for the island mode.

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