Health Care in Cuba

A week or so ago, Humberto Fontova wrote a very revealing article on Cuba’s health care system. He took particular issue with Michael Moore’s propaganda piece Sicko, clips from which were used by CNN last year to promote Obama’s socialized health care plan. For some reason, the Left constantly refers to Cuba when discussing socialized health care, hailing Castro for providing medical care to his people, and glowing about the wonderful statistics that show how great the health care in Cuba is. Fontova shows the lie in all of it.

[I]ndeed, according to UN figures, Cuba’s current infant mortality rate places her 44th from the top in worldwide ranking, right next to Canada (the lower the rate the higher the ranking).

What CNN left out is that according to those same UN figures, in 1958 (the year prior to the glorious revolution), Cuba ranked 13th from the top, worldwide. This meant that robustly capitalist Cuba had the 13th lowest infant-mortality rate in the world. This put her not only at the top in Latin America but atop most of Western Europe, ahead of France, Belgium, West Germany, Israel, Japan, Austria, Italy, Spain and Portugal. Today all of these countries leave Communist Cuba in the dust, with much lower infant mortality rates.

And even plummeting from 13th (Capitalist) to 44th (Communist), Cuba’s “impressive” infant mortality rate is kept artificially low by Communist chicanery with statistics and by a truly appalling abortion rate of 0.71 abortions per live birth. This is the hemisphere’s highest, by far. Any Cuban pregnancy that even hints at trouble gets “terminated.”

In April 2001, Dr. Juan Felipe García, MD, of Jacksonville, Fla., interviewed several recent doctor defectors from Cuba. Based on what he heard, he reported the following:

“The official Cuban infant-mortality figure is a farce. Cuban pediatricians constantly falsify figures for the regime. If an infant dies during its first year, the doctors often report he was older. Otherwise, such lapses could cost him severe penalties and his job.”

<snip>

According to a report by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, more than 75% of “doctors” with Cuban “medical degrees” flunk the exam given by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates for licensing in the U.S. Most Cuba-certified doctors even flunk the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates’ exam for certification as “physician assistants,” making them unfit even as nurses.

Well, it seems that the health care in Cuba may not be as spiffy as we’ve been led to believe. But what evidence do we have that things are actually bad in Cuba? Are there photographs or documentary videos? Is there a website that compiles these figures?

The Castroite propaganda in Sicko so outraged people cursed by fate to live in Castro’s fiefdom that they risked their lives by using hidden cameras to film conditions in genuine Cuban hospitals, hoping they could alert the world to Moore’s swinishness as a propaganda operative for a Stalinist regime.

At enormous risk, two hours of shocking, often revolting, footage was obtained with tiny hidden cameras and smuggled out of Cuba to Cuban-exile George Utset, who runs the superb and revelatory website The Real Cuba. The man who assumed most of the risk during the filming and smuggling was Cuban dissident — a medical doctor himself – Dr. Darsi Ferrer, who was also willing to talk on camera, narrating much of the video’s revelations. Dr Ferrer worked in these genuinely Cuban hospitals daily, witnessing the truth. More importantly, he wasn’t cowed from revealing this truth to America and the world. (A recent samizdat reports that the black Dr. Ferrer is currently languishing in a Cuban prison cell –not far from Gitmo, by the way– undergoing frequent beatings.

Ooh, that doesn’t sound so good. This material was compiled by great personal risk and shows a compelling story. Why haven’t we seen it? Surely such a story would have be eagerly broken by the mainstream media …

Originally, ABC’s John Stossel planned to show the shocking smuggled videos in their entirety, during a 20/20 show. Alas, on Sept. 12th 2007, the 20/20 show ran only a tiny segment on Cuba’s “real” healthcare, barely 5 minutes long and with almost none of the smuggled video footage. What happened?

Well, the Castro regime got wind of these videos and called in ABC’s Havana bureau for a little talking-to, stressing that ABC’s “bureau permit” might face “closer scrutiny” if they showed the blockbuster videos. ABC wimped out.

Say it ain’t so. A major mainstream media outlet refusing  to run a major story like this because of a little pressure from a comunist regieme. Who would have thought? Well, I can’t believe that anyone else would have the temerity or journalistis fortitude to show such a thing …

Enter Fox News, and Sean Hannity in particular. Your humble servant here contacted Hannity’s producers regarding the smuggled videos and they immediately requested a look. Within hours they jumped on them and produced a blockbuster of a show. Seen here. And here. Fox viewers saw naked patients covered with flies while lying on “hospital beds” consisting of a bare mattress. They saw a building that would be condemned by the health board of any U.S. municipality serving as “hospitals.” They saw and heard Dr. Darsi Ferrer along with other Cubans who described their inability to obtain something so basic as aspirin.

What? I thought Fox News only spouted hate and venom and racism? Glenn Beck and his hatemongering, teabagging chalkboard! Who would have thought that they would run a major story like this, after the mainstream media didn’t have the guts to? Well, probably Fox viewers, which would be about half the country now, I think …

Chris Field at Townhall blogs about Fontova’s article, and checks out the site that Fontova mentioned: The Real Cuba. Field takes a look through the site, and posts some pictures of conditions in hospitals in Cuba. The pictures are very disturbing.

Of course, not all socialized health care is like this. I mean, it’s not like these problems occur in places like the UK or anything

We all know that the free market could never do any better anyway. After all, places like the UK and Canada have much better health care than we do. Thank goodness for Obamacare!

For completeness, here are those videos from Cuba. May contain disturbing images:

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  1. More Health Care in Cuba « The Republican Heretic
  2. Wefare Cuban style: health system:-)

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