Last November, Venezuela welcomed 119 Palestinian medical students to the country thanks to a scholarship program set up by the Venezuelan government.

Today, the Associated Press revealed that a third of the students have ended the studies early and have left the country, or are waiting for plane tickets to return to their homes.

According to the report, the students felt that the program was of poor quality, and were worried that it would leave them unprepared to practice medicine in the real world. Some of the students told the Associated Press that their first year in school had consisted only of Spanish language courses and political indoctrination classes praising the Bolivarian revolution.

Foud Fattoum, one of the disenchanted students, said:

I want to help my people, and what they need are doctors. I want learn [sic] as much information as possible and that’s not what I would get in this program.

An official with the Palestinian Education Ministry in the West Bank told the Associated Press that the incident has strained relations between the two countries.

One of the program’s teachers, Sol Potino, said that he believed that the Palestinian students had left because they were homesick, and criticized anyone who did not believe the program met academic scrutiny by saying:

People criticize this kind of medicine because they know it’s associated with the left. But you can make a lot of things better with just primary care, in terms of individual health and the health of a country.

The students were studying in the country thanks to the Yasser Arafat Scholarship Program set up with the Venezuelan government. The program covered 100% of their living and study costs for a period of up to seven years.

Scarano Barred from Office

Former San Diego mayor Enzo Scarano became the latest opposition politician to be banned from holding office after the Comptroller General disqualified him from doing so today for a period of one year. Scarano’s name was going to appear on the opposition ballot during the December 6 parliamentary elections.

Scarano was removed from his post as mayor of San Diego, Carabobo state in March of last year after authorities claimed that he was not doing enough to stop protests in the city. He subsequently served a 10 month prison sentence.

Earlier today, the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, spoke on Maria Corina Machado’s disqualification, saying:

Elections have to be open to all citizens in all judicial and legal conditions… The only prohibitions can come from the people, who either vote or don’t vote for you. Only the people can prohibit [someone from holding office]. Everything else is political force.

Maduro Heads to Brazil

Maduro is headed to Brazil to attend the XLVIII Mercosur Summit which began today in the country. Maduro said that during the trip, he would seek to reach agreements to allow the country to export products to its South American neighbours.

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com


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