Hundreds of Congolese medical students, survivors of the 2019 purge, leave Cuba

A group of 274 Congolese doctors trained in Cuba returned to that country after graduationOnly a quarter of the nearly 1,000 who studied medicine at the time A 2019 uprising in Havana demanding better conditions for scholarships and late stipend payments It ended with the expulsion of more than a hundred.

According to an official Prensa Latina report, graduates, mostly general practitioners and technicians, They will now begin the preparation phase in their country’s hospitalsWhere they can gain experience before being hired and officially assigned.

According to Congolese media Journal of BrazzaThe Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Technological Innovation, Delphine Edith Emmanuel, welcomed him on his arrival on December 31, along with the Director of the Cabinet of the Minister of Health and Population, Jean-Ignace Tandlet.

The owner “reassured” them, the report states: “I want to assure you that all arrangements are being made for your professional integration,” she said, referring to recent graduates’ fear of not getting a job soon. as much as possible

According to Congolese media, The national government sent more than 1,000 medical students to Cuba between 2013 and 2014. To fill the vacancy of health workers. The first batch of graduates returned to the country in 2020.

In April 2019, Congolese students were at the center of the uprising that broke out at the University of Medical Sciences in Havana.Dozens of them demanded payment of outstanding stipends from the government of their country.

The massive protests ended with the intervention of Cuban police and special forceswho used force and firearms against unarmed civilians, as reported by social networks.

after that, The Cuban Ministry of Health (MINSAP) declared that this “discipline will not be allowed”. And that “appropriate measures shall be adopted in accordance with existing law” on the island, which led to the purge.

In June of the same year, Andrea Ngombete, Global Coordinator of Sassofit, a civil society organization dedicated to promoting the rule of law and democracy in the Republic of Congo, told DIARIO DE CUBA, 112 students arrested by authorities were repatriated in May.

According to Ngombet, the Congolese government sent members of the police and secret service to Cuba to escort the students.

A Congolese source in Havana said Cuban authorities will be bound to respect the Geneva Conventions and avoid deportation, given the danger students face in the Congo. However, the government of Miguel Díaz-Canel agreed to expel them.

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

The student protest movement in Cuba was divided by political pressure, Sassoufit’s global coordinator explained. As of March 2019, Congolese students in Cuba had accumulated 27 months of arrears in their scholarship payments, but were paid 12 months after the demonstrations.

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

In addition to rebels, Havana and Brazzaville would have agreed to repatriate other scholarship recipients for recording “poor academic results”.

Hundreds of foreign students of various specialties study in Cuba, many of them with scholarships paid by the governments of their countries. This is an important inflow of resources for the island’s governance.

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