Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Praises Medical Students

FL0209161088 Havana Tele-Rebelde Network in Spanish 1150 GMT 2 Sep 88

[Speech by President Fidel Castro to graduating medical students at
Havana's Karl Marx Theater on 1 September--recorded]

[Excerpts]  The truth is that you, as the vanguard of this movement, had to
pass the test of life well.  I remember when the first contingent, the one
graduating now, was in its 1st year.  They were the only students that had
uniforms.  They would distinguish themselves wherever they arrived.  During
the 1st year they were in the basic sciences.  Later, when they were in 2d
year.  I would become impatient for the day when the detachment would
finish all of the courses in the medical school, and that day has arrived.
And the day has arrived in which we have graduated that first contingent,
and we know that behind you there are tens of (?thousands) of medical
students.  [Words indistinct] contingent including the one that begins its
classes today.  You had to go through the whole experience, from the
assemblies in the classes, to have the support and the approval of the
collective of students.  Likewise, I have been appreciative through these
years, because everyone said that there had been a jump in the quality of
the medical students.  [passage omitted]

I have the firmest hope that you will not think you have finished with your
studies in medicine.  I would really feel more optimistic if you would
realize that it is just the beginning for you.  For some, it is beginning
in a very serious manner, and with a very great responsibility because I
imagine that the ones going to the mountains will be alone.  There they do
not have the polyclinic close by.  There they do not have anyone at hand to
ask, and must deal with the problems they are faced with now, in this
phase.  I believe that in the future, the ones who are going to the
mountains will be specialists in integral general medicine because the
mountains and the countryside are the only places where, every 2 years, we
change doctors.  In the city the doctors do not change.  We continue to
have the same family doctor, and when he graduates as a specialist, he
still attends to the population of the city.  [passage omitted]

I believe that the fruits of that process are marvelous and impressive, and
you are products of that process!  We see you today with joy, satisfaction,
sympathy, admiration.  It makes us happy to be able to say that we have
graduated so many doctors, and good doctors, who have been in contact with
hospitals since they began.  If we graduated as many as were left, more
than were left, it is precisely because these miracles are only possible in
the revolution.  Imperialism thought it was crushing us, leaving us without
doctors.  It thought that everyone here would die without a doctor!  If you
do not want soup, you get three cups, goes the saying.  Today we are giving
imperialism a cup of 3,440 doctors graduating in only one class!

In the year 2000, two out of every three doctors will come from the Carlos
J. Finlay detachment.  Two out of every three, and that in a very few
years.  You should always honor that very worthy name which the detachment
bears.  You should honor the prestige medicine has attained in our country.
You should always preserve the prestige you have attained in these years.
We expect that from you.

To conclude, perhaps I have gone on too long on a day when you want to go
and celebrate the degree which you have received, or go to work.  I want to
tell you that we have placed infinite hopes in you [words indistinct] from
our hearts.  In the name of all of us here, we congratulate you.  We wish
you great success in your careers and hope that you scale great heights.
Fatherland or death, we shall win.  [applause]