Caracas, April 16, 2007 (venezuelanalysis.com)— Venezuela’s President Chavez and Bolivia’s President Evo Morales inaugurated a new medical school, on Sunday, outside the Venezuelan capital of Caracas, which will train doctors in community medicine. Morales is visiting Venezuela to participate in the First Energy Summit of South America.
The school, which is called Latin American School of Medicine “ Dr. Alejandro Próspero Reverend” and is located in the town of Filas de Mariche, was launched with 412 students from all of Latin America. The most heavily represented students are from Bolivia, Cuba, and Brazil. Currently the school has space for 614 students, but will be amplified so that by October of this year it can train 800 students.
The school is based on the Cuban medical school model for community health, which have trained thousands of Latin American students to become community general practitioners in poor communities around Latin America. Cuba currently has about 20,000 doctors and technicians in Venezuelan poor communities, as part of the Venezuelan health program “Inside the Barrio” (Barrio Adentro).
Venezuelan Vice-Minister for Student Policies at the Ministry of Higher Education, Henry Gomez said, “Here we are basically receiving students who are traditionally excluded from the school system, students who otherwise could not enroll in this career that is vital to the development of the peoples and countries of Latin America.”
Cuban Vice-Minister for Health, Aldo Muñoz, who was also at the inauguration , explained that the school seeks to train students with a high level of technical and professional understanding, but that they should also have a “human quality” and participate in the solution of community problems.
Bolivia ’s President Evo Morales highlighted the role of Cuba in this project and in Bolivia’s health programs. He also emphasized that Cuba, despite being the constant target of U.S. aggression is the first in terms of providing solidarity in Latin America.
President Chavez told participants of how Dr. Alejandro Próspero Reverend, after whom the school is named, was Símon Bolívar’s doctor at a time when everyone had abandoned Bolívar.
Also present at the event was the doctor Alberto Granado, who is famous for having participated in Ernesto “Che” Guevara’s motorcycle tour of Latin America in the early 1950’s, which became immortalized with Guevara’s Motorcycle Diaries, which was recently turned into a major film.