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Dear Editor:

1. A group of Guyanese medical students and doctors who are perusing graduate studies here in Cuba are objecting to news reports in the Stabroek and Kaieteur Newspapers that claim Guyanese students in Cuba want to come home because “the situation in Cuba is rapidly deteriorating since basic necessities and food items are not available.” We do not subscribe to this unsubstantiated and negative depiction.

2. A Kaiteur News article published today states that some students, who asked that their names be withheld, claimed in a letter to the media and the Government of Guyana that “Cuba has recently been plunged into even more difficulties following the exacerbation and intensification of the embargo placed by the USA resulting in the shortage of basic necessities such as toilet paper and food supplies.”

3. The article also stated that “while classes have been suspended sixth year medic students and doctors are still being encouraged to continue working as an assistance to the work force in many provinces. However, many are not provided with the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) while executing their duties. The article added that the unidentified students claimed that “they are forced to use lavatory services that are in deplorable conditions and have been “fetching water” to have baths. They have since decided not to continue working.”

4. We are students in Cuba as well. Some of the issues raised in article are unknown to us. It is true that a few students want to go home to their families. However they must be honest and tell the truth and should not create the impression that Guyanese students are stranded in Cuba under inhumane conditions. This is simply not true for the majority of us. Our colleagues must realize that the Guyana has students in many countries around the world. Evacuating the ones in Cuba alone would be seen by the other students in other countries as discrimination.

5. No one is being forced to work. We have the option to stay home or continue to work. This is the reason why almost all of us are home. We exercised the option to stay at home. Our Guyanese Ambassador sent us a letter that made it clear that he doesn’t want anyone of us to be going to the hospitals if they can’t provide proper PPEs. He said if here is inadequate measures and gear to ensure our safety we should stay home.

6. One hospital had a problem and the Guyanese student/doctor that was attached to that institution got a personal letter that was directed to her hospital from the Guyana Ambassador. As a result, that individual is now home. Additionally, as doctors and student doctors here, we have preference to not join any line to buy stuff countrywide. Buses are also provided to pick us up from home and take us back home. The majority of us are living quite comfortable and safe here. We’re using this period to study, do research and complete projects.

7. Lastly, the embargo against Cuba has been in effect for the last 52 years. How come it is affecting certain Guyanese students now? It is puzzling that these unnamed students are also now claiming that they are “forced to use lavatory services that are in deplorable conditions and have been “fetching water” to have baths.” Did these conditions exist before COVID 19 and, if so, why blame these “pre-existing” conditions on the current situation?

Some of us feel that the motive here is to make our country look bad. We are Guyanese. We love our country. Most of us here in Cuba try to make the best of the situation. We want to qualify ourselves and go home. We have no political motivations. Sincerely GUYANESE MEDICAL AND POST GRADUATE STUDENTS IN CUBA

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