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Viewing cable 09PARAMARIBO92, SURINAME: STUDENTS QUIT VENEZUELAN AND CHINESE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09PARAMARIBO92 2009-03-30 18:06 2011-01-31 15:03 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Paramaribo
VZCZCXRO4248
PP RUEHGR
DE RUEHPO #0092 0891847
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 301847Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY PARAMARIBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0648
INFO RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0170
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1687
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

UNCLAS PARAMARIBO 000092 

SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 

STATE FOR WHA/CAR JROSHOLT 
WHA/PD FOR CHAD WEST 

E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV CH VZ CU NS
SUBJECT: SURINAME: STUDENTS QUIT VENEZUELAN AND CHINESE 
SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMS, BUT CUBAN PROGRAMS STILL POPULAR 

1. (SBU) Summary. Recent Venezuelan and Chinese government 
scholarship programs for Surinamese students have fallen 
short of their targets. This academic year, eight of eleven 
Surinamers with Venezuelan scholarships quit their programs, 
while two of five Surinamers with Chinese scholarships quit 
their programs. In contrast with the Venezuelans and the 
Chinese, the Cuban government's scholarship program continues 
to go strong with 60 participants, according to media 
reports. End Summary. 

2. (U) On March 16, De Ware Tijd (the newspaper of record) 
broke the story that eight of eleven Surinamese students 
studying medicine in Venezuela had quit their programs. The 
media quoted Suriname's Ambassador to Venezuela, Samuel 
Pawironadi, as stating that the Embassy of the Bolivarian 
Republic of Venezuela had directly advertised these 
scholarships in the Surinamese press without coordination 
with Suriname's Ministry of Education. The Surinamese 
Embassy in Venezuela worked closely with the Venezuelan 
government once the problems came to light in order to ensure 
the remaining three students would have an enjoyable stay, 
the media reported. 

3. (SBU) In December 2008, Post's EducationUSA advisor 
counseled two of the returning students. One student told 
her the Venezuelan program was disorganized. Although the 
advertisement said it was a medical school scholarship, when 
the students arrived in Venezuela the medical school had not 
yet been built. Instead, the students were sent to learn 
Spanish in a village on the Venezuelan-Guyanese border. The 
student reported that the room and board provided was 
substandard, and that he became ill before returning to 
Suriname. Later, the EducationUSA advisor learned this 
student received a scholarship to finish his studies in the 
Netherlands. 

4. (U) The March 16 news report came on the heels of a 
January 22 De Ware Tijd article, which had reported that two 
Surinamers who had received scholarships to study in Beijing 
had also quit their programs and returned to Suriname. 
Originally, there were five students sent to China last fall, 
according to a public statement by Chinese Ambassador to 
Suriname Su Ge on China's National Day. These scholarships 
had been coordinated by Suriname's Ministry of Education. 
Post's EducationUSA advisor spoke with Richel Najatirta at 
the Ministry of Education, who is in charge of scholarship 
programs. Najatirta advised that this scholarship program 
involved cost-sharing with the Chinese government covering 
room, board, and tuition for the students while the 
Surinamese government covered the roundtrip airfare. 
Najatirta confirmed that the Ministry is currently in dispute 
with the two students because they returned to Suriname 
without notifying the Ministry. The Ministry is requesting 
the students reimburse the Ministry the airfare costs. 

5. (U) In contrast with the Venezuelans and the Chinese, the 
Cuban government's scholarship program appeared to be going 
strong this academic year. On December 8, 2008, the De Ware 
Tijd reported that sixty Surinamese students were studying in 
Cuba. 

6. (SBU) Comment. Post's EducationUSA advisor has noted that 
many of the students who come to the U.S. Embassy for 
academic counseling are looking for scholarship 
opportunities. With the comparatively high cost of studying 
in the United States, combined with scholarship programs 
offered by other countries' governments, it is hard to 
attract Surinamese students to the United States at the 
undergraduate level, especially when the United States rarely 
offers to pay. Post is researching imaginative methods to 
attract Surinamese students, including access to Fulbright 
and Humphrey scholarship programs, but still is unlikely to 
be able to fully compete with the apparently deep pockets of 
the Venezuelans, Chinese, or the Cubans. End Comment. 
SCHREIBER HUGHES