Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Government and International Affairs

Major Professor

Harry E. Vanden, Ph. D.

Committee Member

M. Scott Solomon, Ph. D.

Committee Member

Linda M. Whiteford, Ph. D.


Political culture, international relations, proletarian internationalism, constructivism, foreign affairs


Since the beginning of the Revolutionary government in Cuba, a comprehensive foreign policy involving medical personal and equipment has been implemented worldwide. Known as medical internationalism, thousands of doctors have been sent to developed and less developed nations in the spirit of solidarity and humanitarian aid. Even more, thousands of students have been given free medical education in Cuba at its world renowned university, the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM). Often, no monetary or direct political gain is made by Cuba and the doctors simply receive their normal government salary. While the success of Cuba's medical internationalism is well documented (Feinsilver 1993, Kirk & Erisman 2009), the reasons and guiding forces behind it are much less understood. Based on a Cultural/Political Foreign Policy model created by Marijke Breuning to study foreign policy, this study aims to show that the concept of proletarian internationalism is the guiding principle in Cuba's medical internationalism programs.