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As a young medical student in Argentina I had been fascinated by Fidel Castro and his rebel combatants, and followed with interest their advance from the mountains to the plains to the capital city of Havana. I longed to visit the island, but the U.S. blockade made it extremely difficult to travel to Cuba. Then, in 1981, the Pan American Health Organization invited me to attend a medical conference in Havana.

I went to Cuba with a tremendous sense of anticipation. I was curious to see Havana and I was very interested in the public health accomplishments of the Castro government. Already at that time, Cuba had among the best health and education indicators in Latin America and the Caribbean, comparable even to those in the United States. And they would only continue to improve.

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