Bogota, Sep 4 (EFE).- Demobilized veterans of the old FARC guerrilla force and victims of the Colombian armed conflict traveled to Cuba Tuesday to study medicine on scholarships awarded by the island’s government.
The head of the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) party, Rodrigo Londoño, known in his guerrilla years as “Timochenko,” bid farewell to some of the 196 people traveling to the island starting this Tuesday.
“I feel very moved about coming to say goodbye, and very satisfied. This is one of the many achievements of the peace accord, and knowing that these students are going to train to serve Colombia is very gratifying,” Londoño told reporters.
Studying along with the ex-combatants will also be some of their family members, displaced persons, victims of the conflict and a former Colombian police officer.
One thing Londoño wants for his country is a “fair health system” and said these scholarship students will play a “very important” role from the “academic” and “ethical” points of view.
Angel Alvarado, a member of the FARC party benefiting from the program, told EFE what importance this opportunity has for him and his region.
“I’m the hope of my town and of the people in that part of Colombia the government has never reached,” he said.
Applying for this second phase of the program in April of last year were 442 people from 27 provinces, who took exams prepared by professors at Havana’s Latin American School of Medicine
After the tests, 196 people were picked for a scholarship from among the 1,000 offered last year by the Cuban government to help implement the peace accord signed with the FARC in November 2016.
On the island there are currently 189 Colombian scholarship students who went to Cuba on Aug. 26 last year in the first phase of the program.
In March last year, Cuba, which was guarantor together with Norway of the negotiation, offered 1,000 medical scholarships, of which 100 will be given to the government and 100 to the FARC party each year until the program is completed in 2022.