Friday, September 15, 2006

Zimbabwe: President Hails Cuba's Resilience

September 15, 2006

The Heald (Harare)

Itai Musengeyi

Havana, Cuba

CUBA'S policy of educating people from other developing countries and providing doctors to those countries in the face of crippling sanctions imposed on it by the United States is a great sacrifice that should be commended, President Mugabe has said.

Addressing Zimbabweans studying at various colleges and universities in Cuba yesterday, Cde Mugabe said the students should be grateful to Havana for the chance to get educated and acquire skills even though the country is grappling with US-imposed sanctions, which have been in force for four decades.

"It's difficult here because of sanctions. But the fact that the people who have the burden of sanctions to carry have at the same time offered opportunities to develop ourselves, that fact alone should always ring in your mind. It's a great sacrifice on their part," President Mugabe said.

He said in addition to offering scholarships and having places at universities reserved for Africans and Latin Americans, Cuba also deploys its doctors to most African and Latin American countries.

"Poor as they are, but charitable in the extreme."

Some of the Zimbabwean students are on full scholarships provided by Cuba while others are sponsored by the Government and their parents.

The President urged the students to commit themselves to work for Zimbabwe first before thinking of going to other countries. He said even after venturing outside, they should return home after gaining the necessary experience that can benefit their country.

He said it was not Government policy to prevent its citizens from seeking greener pastures in other countries but as Zimbabweans, they should have a sense of national consciousness to commit themselves to serve and work for their people first.

Cde Mugabe urged the students to work hard and excel in their studies.

He later held talks with Cuban Vice President Esteban Lazo Hernandez at the State guest house.

President Mugabe was late yesterday (Zimbabwean time) scheduled to attend a meeting of the Group of 15 developing nations ahead of today's opening of the 14th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement.

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