Green Left Weekly Fighting Fund: Now for the good news

In a fortnight when the world's wealthiest countries escalated their war on one of the world's poorest, Afghanistan, and when Peter Sold-His-Soul-To-The-Devil Garrett gave the nod to a new uranium mine to be run by a company controlled by a billionaire US arms merchant and former contra gunrunner, you'd be keen to get some good news.

Fortunately there is some good news, as solidarity activist Tim Anderson explained to Green Left Weekly. But this is good news you won't hear about in the mainstream media in Australia:

"Eighteen Timorese students from Celia Sanchez College in Manzanillo, Cuba, completed their fifth year of medical studies in late June and have started their sixth year. They expect to return to Timor Leste in mid-August, and to go to the sub-districts (where the Cuban doctors are at the moment) and practise medicine while they complete their studies.

"This small group will be a test for Timor Leste. There is a lot of expectation, particularly because the students have been away from home since September 2003."

There are currently 700 Timorese studying medicine in Cuba and further 165 studying with Cuban doctors in Timor Leste. Many more students from the Pacific Islands, Latin America and Africa are also studying in Cuba, often with their tuition and board completely paid for by the Cuban government.

At the July 15 Non-Aligned Movement summit in Egypt, Cuban President Raul Castro said: "At the moment, almost 51,000 Cuban workers are assisting in 98 countries to save lives, prevent diseases or contribute to development while over 32,000 youths from 118 countries, mostly in the Third World, are studying free of charge in our educational centres, 78% of them in medical schools."

Anderson said: "The returning Timorese medical students will have to get used to the health system in their country."

"Even this small initial group will add significantly to the health professionals in their country. They will also reinforce the Cuban health professional ethos in Timor Leste — health workers as public servants, not as medical entrepreneurs selling their services."

A good news story like this about the socialist government of Cuba's global leadership in solidarity and health training reminds us that good can triumph over evil, even outside fairy tales. It boosts our resolve at GLW to continue our struggle for a different world.

Please make a donation today to our fighting fund at: Greenleft, Commonwealth Bank, BSB 062-006, account no. 00901992. You can also post a cheque or money order to PO Box 515, Broadway NSW 2007 or phone in a donation through on the toll-free line at 1800 634 206 (within Australia).

So far our supporters have raised $117,921 this year. We need your help to get to our target of $250,000 by the end of the year.

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