Citizen Reporter
1 minute read
4 Feb 2021
11:50 am

PICS: South African students in Cuba struggling to survive

Citizen Reporter

South African medical students in Cuba say their situation is dire, following Cuba’s economic reforms, which has seen an increase of prices of goods and services with effect from January.

The students have shared pictures of what they have been forced to eat – including rice and pork soup, boiled eggs and rolls – on social media, with the situation said to be so dire that women could not afford sanitary pads.

South Africans studying medicine in Cuba have sent a distress call to Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize about their plight in the Caribbean island.

Their complaints range from a lack of food, appalling living conditions and inadequate stipends that have left them near destitute, while the country’s economic reforms have led to shortages so dire that some don’t even have access to necessities like sanitary pads.

The Cuban government recently decided to end its decades-old dual currency system in favour of a single unified currency, which trades  at a rate of 24 pesos/US dollar. The unification was part of a reform of the economy, which also included salary adjustments, price increases and adjustments of subsidies for various items.

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This, unfortunately, did not bode well for many in the country who depend on government for food and accommodation, including the South African students, who complained that these provisions at the university had gone from bad to worse.

They have requested SA government to increase their stipends, in order for them to acquire private accommodation and buy food.

Meanwhile, they have shared pictures, which show the dire state of affairs.

READ MORE: SA medical students in Cuba call out for assist from government

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