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Fracas in Caracas
Palestinian Students to Caracas Med School: You’re Too Dysfunctional

An academic exchange between Palestine and Venezuela has taken a turn for the worst as Palestinian students defect from the program to return home to the West Bank. The Associated Press reports:

The program to train young Palestinians as doctors was to be the latest addition to an array of international solidarity programs the late President Hugo Chavez established[…] But eight months later, about a third of the Palestinians have dropped out, complaining the program lacks academic rigor […] At least 29 already have gone home, while the other dropouts have stayed on living rent-free as they wait to receive plane tickets.

The Yasser Arafat Scholarship Program was to include seven years of room and board at the Dr. Salvador Allende medical school, staffed by primarily Cuban doctors. Initially, scholarship recipients were elated to flee refugee camps and the violence of Gaza to pursue their dreams of studying medicine. However:

The students who dropped out complain that their first year consisted only of Spanish language lessons and indoctrination about Venezuela’s 16-year-old socialist revolution. They say they were surprised when their teachers presented a curriculum centered on community health and worried when doctors from other institutions warned that their education wouldn’t meet international standards.

If there’s any sure sign of trouble in paradise, it’s when droves of young Gazans abandon free medical education for the horrors of the war-torn West Bank. In an attempt to save face, school officials in Venezuela have attributed the students’ dissatisfaction to mere homesickness. In a way, that wouldn’t be surprising. Venezuela recently registered a record breaking number of cases of tropical diseases such as malaria, Dengue fever, and Chikungunya. Factor in the homicide rate in Caracas, which is itself not unlike that of a war-zone, and it’s difficult to blame the Palestinian students for being homesick in the first place.

But while there’s room for speculation, the failure of the program certainly underscores the shortcomings in Venezuela’s socialized health care sector and the general tumult that has characterized the nation lately. Venezuelan opposition parties hope that National Assembly elections, scheduled for December 6th, will bring about substantive changes within the country. But if Venezuela’s history of dubious elections is any guide, they shouldn’t expect very much.

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  • Pete

    Socialism is a disaster wherever it and tried. In this regards, American liberals are responsibility to large measure for the damage done by socialism.

    And that old fool that now sits on St. Peter’s chair in the Vatican should take note.

    • FriendlyGoat

      Yeah, Francis made the Palestinians nutty and the Venezuelans nuttier—–in just a couple of years.

      • Josephbleau

        Yes Francis appeared one day in Rome with no background or recorded history regarding his history or prior works, he had nothing to do with South America.

        • FriendlyGoat

          With Francis, you have a Pope who is attempting to model the real Jesus to the world. Even though I am not a Catholic, I find it quite offensive when people gripe about him, as Pete did. Snarky stuff, and a lot of it (amazingly) comes from conservative Catholics these days, or so its said. I wonder what voices these people think they are hearing to be mad at a guy who is trying very hard to lead a church correctly.

          • GS

            He leads it into the marxist heresy. He’s a heretic, your Francis.

          • FriendlyGoat

            That’s what church people (of the time) thought about Jesus too.

          • GS

            Then he ought to be crucified as a heretic and a blasphemer, even going so far in his foul heresy as to be denying the word of God. Matthew 13:12: “For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath”. Thus capitalism, and no effing marxism.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I don’t suppose you know that Matthew 13:12 was Jesus explaining to his disciples why he spoke to crowds using only parables. In context, this verse has nothing to do with material wealth.

            As for your first sentence, I’ve known you to be saying outrageous and ignorant things for a long time, and now I know why.

          • GS

            I have a good nose for lefties [growing up in the effing ussr sensitizes]. Your francis stinketh.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Best I can tell you don’t know anything at all except how to repeat effing.

          • GS

            Think again, if you can. I know so little that it includes only one Ivy League doctorate [I would have liked to have two or three] and only 5 languages.

          • FriendlyGoat

            So what. Rank doesn’t work in the comment section. You quoted scripture out of context and expected me to buy the ruse. That isn’t as smart as you imagine.

          • GS

            The rank is merely indicative of the ignorance level, for that’s what you tried to dub me with. To be a polyglot and polymath, one cannot be an ignoramus. And that’s why “think again, if you can [think]” – which the lefties usually cannot, from my observations.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I like and trust Pope Francis. You don’t. There is nothing about you being a polyglot or polymath which validates your opinion on that subject or which invalidates mine.

          • GS

            There is quite a lot about it in my being a polyglot, but comprehending that lot would take some thinking, which for the lefties is simply painful. I am a polyglot because I was born and grew up under the effing communism, in the ussr [the evil empire] of effing memory. Fortunately for me, I got out of there. The languages I picked [I had to] on my way. Thus I know the subject of marxism by about several light years better than you ever would, or could, know it – I know it from personal experience. And when your francis spouts marxism, I know what it means and leads to. Ef him and all who look, think, or stink like him.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I do not believe Francis is a Marxist, so I’m not debating with you whether Marxism is good. We can agree it isn’t, but that’s not the point with him.

          • GS

            What else is the point with him, if not his marxist advocacy of the “downtrodden”?

          • FriendlyGoat

            Francis is trying to model Jesus to the world. There really is no other reason for the Catholic Church—-or any Christian church—-to exist.
            He seems to understand that—-to my satisfaction anyway. Jesus existed before Marx, and some 2,000,000,000 people claim to follow that idea. Francis just asks us to be real about it, which is important.

          • GS

            Go with the Calvinist interpretation. The earthly success is a manifestation of being among the elect, and the earthly failure – of being among the damned. It was not for nothing that Jesus loved the tax collectors.

          • FriendlyGoat

            The only problem with the Calvinist interpretation is that it is utter balderdash from a spiritual perspective, supported by nearly nothing in the New Testament. It’s followers made up their own theory to suit their own egos. They didn’t need Jesus for anything. That’s probably why they used Calvin’s name to call it Calvinism. No need to call an invention anything else.

          • GS

            They have built the most prosperous and successful societies known. “By their fruits should ye know them”. So much for the “balderdash”. The others are still worse.

          • FriendlyGoat

            You really are a master at mis-quoting the Bible out of context.

  • qet

    The wonders of socialist medicine, coming soon to an ACA exchange near you. Not content with defining the conditions under which medicine may be practiced, socialism must also define disease itself in a way that furthers socialism’s goals. Dengue fever? Chikungunya? Mere externalities of rampant imperialism, capitalism and man-made climate change. Why waste time learning the treatment and cure of parasites and microbes when doctors’ time is better spent treating the “underlying causes”? Already here in the USA of ACA, doctors are being required to diagnose their patients as suffering from acute global warming. Obesity has been formally pathologized so that doctors can spend their time managing their patients’ lifestyles according to the latest bien pensant ideas. Synthetic “cadavers” are replacing real ones. Pathology and cardiology textbooks will soon be replaced by Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks, Franz Fanon’s entire oeuvre and whatever bestseller Ta-Nahisi Coates has most recently published. All accompanied by hosannas from the NYT editorial board who will keep the phone number of the last remaining NYC cardiologist a closely guarded secret.

  • GS

    Well, since the instruction there takes place in Spanish language, bringing the student to a decent standard of proficiency is an absolute must. In the United States we have TOEFL – test of English as Foreign [to the student] Language. No proper instruction at the university level can take place with the non-comprehending students. Indeed, one year of intensive language immersion seems to be an absolute minimum, and any complaints about it are to be dismissed out of hand as coming from the spoiled parasites. What have they expected, to be instructed in their Arabic? And where would Venezuela find enough Arabic-speaking instructors for them?
    When I immigrated to the Unites States, I could read English, but I could neither speak nor write it beyond the “see spot run” level. It took me a few years to master the language before I could proceed to the graduate school.

  • George Von Herman

    “for the horrors of the war-torn West Bank.” Alternatively, maybe the west bank is not so horrific.

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