In the closing years of the nineteenth century, Latin American countries undertook to share in scientific discourse, frequently utilizing ideas and technology that originated in the United States and Europe. In 1898, Cuba was militarily occupied by the United States following the conclusion of Spanish colonial rule. US participation in Cuba continued past the period of formal occupation in the form of non-profit organizations, such as the Rockefeller Foundation, which established programs to advance technology, while also dealing with public health and scientific education within the country.
In an effort to obtain a good classification in the Medical Education Section of the American Medical Association, the University of Havana Medical School solicited an external evaluation of their facilities by the Rockefeller Foundation. Beyond intellectual and academic awareness, the medical school was also interested in adopting successful programs established elsewhere and in using the latest scientific technology and training techniques. Here we will study the reports produced by the Rockefeller Foundation, personal correspondence between evaluators, and documentation from the University of Havana Medical School. I examine why this external evaluation was conducted, what local and foreign professionals were involved, and what changes resulted from the report. At the same time, I will evaluate the continuing US presence within Cuba as part of a larger effort to advance transnational scientific knowledge and technology, especially in less developed countries.