Largest U.S. Nurses’ Union Endorses “Days of Action against the Blockade of Cuba”

August 20, 2017

Momentum is building for next month’s “Days of Action against the Blockade” with the announcement last week that National Nurses United – the largest union of registered nurses in the United States, with more than 150,000 members – has endorsed the campaign.

U.S. ELAM Graduates to Join Days of Action

Seven American graduates of Cuba’s Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) have also agreed to join invited Cuban health professionals in Washington September 11-16, 2017, to raise awareness about the U.S. blockade of Cuba, which has long endangered the lives of Cubans and Americans.

For complete list of the Days of Action Events go to:

Cuba has graduated 170 doctors from the United States through the project of the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM), which was initiated by Cuban leader Fidel Castro in November 1999. The only requirement is that graduates return to practice medicine in under-served communities in their own countries.

Since the first graduation in 2005, to date, ELAM have graduated more than 28,500 doctors from 103 countries, free of charge.

The American graduates are eager to come to Washington and share their experiences. They will talk about what they learned in Cuba, and how what they learned there can improve healthcare for all in the U.S.

Abraham Vela, ELAM graduate

In 2010, Abraham Vela, who “grew up between the Bay Area and Guatemala,” started his medical education at the Latin American School of Medicine in Havana. It was the end of one journey and the beginning of another.

While he had witnessed “the same injustices, the same poverty, violence, lack of access to education and health,” in both the United States and Guatemala, it wasn’t until he was an 18-year-old student at San Francisco State University that Abraham began to see there could be a better way. He began to work “alongside a passionate group of people” in a student-run clinic in San Francisco’s Mission District.

One of those passionate people was Felix Kury, a professor at SFSU, who encouraged Abraham to take his own passions for health care and social justice to a medical school in Cuba “that trains students from the most vulnerable communities in the world with only one condition – a moral contract to return to our underserved communities and be the leaders, physicians and support that our communities need.”

Abraham, who graduated from ELAM in 2016 “as a physician of science and consciousness… never lost track of the commitment I made to the Cuban people, my community, and humanity.”

He will be among the ELAM graduates participating in this year’s Days of Action in Washington DC.

Source: The International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity