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PostBELIZE and Cuba (Ronald Hilton, USA, 02/20/01 2:14 am)
"Belize has established rather friendly relations with Fidel...even presented him with its highest medal. This government has been cozy with him since the 60's, when George Price, Manley and Fidel were all talking alike. At that time, all recipients of scholarships to the US, Canada and UK were required to undergo an indoctrination of 6 weeks in Cuba prior to using their scholarships. Of late the rabid leftish aspect has abated, but we have been "blessed" with about 50 Cuban doctors as well as a number of nurses. There is a language problem as most of the people in our area do not speak Spanish, plus the lack of supplies from the Belize government. The requirement that the villages supply housing is somewhat of a strain. Also, considering the abilities of some of the people sent to us, one wonders if Fidel is not getting rid of his surplus by sending us the poorer practitioners. I guess that it is better than nothing. There have been a number of defections, most of whom have gone to Mexico. Cuba has also provided a number of scholarships for various areas of study, particularly medicine. Cuba has sent about 150 pre-fabricated houses to Belize, with the workmen to assemble them...the workmen were not appreciated locally.
Must say that I feel the embargo and other restrictions are short sighted and only pander to the Cuban lobby in Florida...very foolish in relation to our desire for better relations with the rest of Latin America. We tend to forget that there are also a large number of non-Cuban Hispanics in Florida."