CUBAN ambassador Teresita Vicente Sotolongo highlighted the need for continued international solidarity with her country in light of Donald Trump’s election as US president.
“President Trump relies too much on Cuban Americans such as Marco Rubio for information,” she said, taking part in conversation with Communist Party general secretary Rob Griffiths.
While most Cuban-Americans favour better relations with Havana, right-wingers such as the Florida Republican senator exercise a political influence beyond their numbers, the ambassador stressed.
Ms Vicente explained Cuba’s role in sending medical teams overseas to provide acutely needed assistance and welcoming students from developing countries to train as doctors.
“Their first year is spent learning Spanish to prepare them for their medical degree and everything is offered without charge to the students,” she said.
This opportunity is also extended to African-American students in response to a request by the US Congressional Black Caucus.
Mr Griffiths recounted asking two African-American trainee doctors during a visit to the Latin American School of Medicine if studying in “communist” Cuba had created problems for them at home.
“Not every American thinks of Cuba like George W Bush,” they replied.
Ms Vicente said that Cuban medical teams working abroad go to poor and remote areas, with least access to doctors so as not to cause friction with the local medical profession.
The school of medicine encourages overseas students to take a similar stance, asking that, when they return home, they put service before money-making by practising in the countryside rather than in their capital city.