Former Vietnamese Scholarship Holders Thank Cuba

Hanoi, Oct 21 (Prensa Latina) – Vietnamese graduates of study programs in Cuba are forever grateful for the education they were granted, as expressed during a celebration for the 50th anniversary of the graduation of the second group to travel from Vietnam to Cuba. Of the 35 people who studied in Cuba and returned to Vietnam, only 19 remain alive, gray-haired but with fresh memories of a unforgettable stay that they spoke about at length.

Vietnam’s Union of Friendship Organizations held the meeting, organized by Nguyen Duy Cuong (Jose for Cubans), vice president of the Cuban branch and a former scholarship student himself.

Former diplomat Nguyen Anh, who led the group in Cuba, spoke in detail about what the students did when returned to Vietnam and the contribution they were able to make to Vietnam’s social and economic development.

Until their retirement, 17 of the former students worked as members of the Central Committee of the Party, as vice ministers, National Assembly deputy, department directors, president of a provincial court and rector of a university.

Others led the VNA news agency, were involved in associations for attorneys and architects, Vietnam’s Sugar Corporation and its Research Institute, cattle ranching and construction services, and were decorated by the State.

Rather than speaking about professional experiences, those who took part in the group and some who graduated later spoke about vital experiences like serving as militia guards at Havana seafront and donating blood. They referred with great respect to Commander in Chief Fidel Castro, to the maternal attention provided by Melba Hernandez on behalf of the Solidarity Committee with Vietnam, along with many Cuban mothers, and to their dedicated professors.

Nguyen Dinh Binh, who would be later a member of Vietnam’s Central Committee and Foreign Vice Minister, said that as a student he became an interpreter at Vietnam’s embassy to Havana, and he accompanied Fidel when he paid his historic visit to Vietnam in 1973.

At the ceremony, led by Vu Xuan Hong, president of the Friendship Organization, the Cuban embassy counselor, Carlos Collazo, highlighted that the seed planted 50 years ago had been the fruitful source of a greater exchange and a strengthening of relations between both countries.