March 16, 2017
As a new contribution to the Colombia peace process, Cuba will award 1,000 scholarships to members of the Revolutionary Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP) and victims of the conflict to study medicine on the island.
Cuban Ambassador to Colombia, José Luis Ponce, announced the plan before the Commission for Follow up, Advance, and Verification of the Implementation of the Final Peace Agreement (CSIVI), while the announcement was made to government representatives on the commission by FARC-EP Secretariat member Iván Márquez.
Ponce explained that 200 scholarships will be awarded every year for five years – 100 for the FARC-EP and 100 for the Notational Executive – and constitute a contribution by Cuba to the implementation of the Peace Agreements reached in Havana, and to the construction of a post-conflict Colombia.
The scholarship students will begin their studies in the 2017-2018 academic year, according to the Cuban ambassador.
The program will be offered to young demobilized FARC-EP recruits, displaced persons, and other victims of the armed conflict, the latter chosen by the government.
The Cuban Embassy will present the FARC-EP and Colombian government with a document containing all the details of the offer, which is currently being prepared by Cuban officials, according to the island’s diplomat.
Cuba hosted the four-year peace talks between the guerilla front and the government of President Juan Manuel Santos, which ended in 2016, and together with Norway, also served as a guarantor nation to the bilateral conversations.
Taking to his Twitter account, Márquez described Cuba’s contribution to the implementation of the Havana accords and creation of a post-conflict Colombia, as a gesture of pure humanity.
“To Army General Raúl Castro (President of Cuba) we express our gratitude filling Colombia with your love and solidarity. Supporting peace and offering us doctors”. added the guerilla commander.