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Labor Unions



     Physicians are the professionals I most respect, and the Stanford Report has described the splendid, disinterested volunteer work they have done in Latin America, including Cuba. The spirit of Médicins sans Frontières permeates many U.S. medical schools. The response is not always unadulterated gratitude. A few years ago, the ship "Hope," filled with doctors and equipment, stopped at Cartagena, Colombia to perform desperately needed operations on poor patients. Student activists charged Yankee imperialism and prevented them. The ship sailed away, and the poor patients went untreated.
     Similar to them are the strikers, their faces covered with bandannas, who, waving black and red flags, have paralyzed the National University of Mexico. There are similar disturbances throughout Latin America. It is the spirit of Che Guevara.
     The merger of the hospitals of Stanford and the University of California at San Francisco resulted in massive unforeseen deficits which have led to the dismissal of over a thousand workers. They have protested to President Gerhard Casper, and they reject his rebuttal that the decision to fire them was not his. Knowing how hard these people work, I have been deeply sympathetic toward them.
     Yesterday October 21, a group of them marched on the president's office. He was not there. Many of the leaders had Spanish names. The protesters were led to the president's office by six women wearing bandannas over their faces and red anarchy symbols pinned to their shirts. Presumably this was to warn that they planned direct action. Much as I love Hispanic culture, this attire brings to mind the Latin American scenes I have described.

Ronald Hilton - 10/22/99


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