Miami Herald: ‘Infant mortality rate in Cuba raises eyebrows’

The Castro dictatorship loves to focus on anything with propaganda value, at the expense of Cubans. This time, it’s an excessive emphasis on artificially maintaining the infant mortality rate. Here, from the Miami Herald:

Darsi Ferrer, a dissident physician in Havana, doesn’t doubt the Granma report (which claimed Cuba’s infant mortality rate last year was 5.3 per 1,000 live births). “That number is indeed low,” he told The Miami Herald by telephone. “That program takes a large amount of resources” out of the system. “They don’t care about 1- to 5-year-olds.”

What? Castro doesn’t care about one- to five-year-olds? Oh yeah, the fewer there are, the less milk he needs to ensure all children under seven get that daily glass of milk he likes to brag about. Which begs the question, “Does he say ‘No milk for you!’ to everyone older than seven?” Apparently so.

Oh yeah, and then the Miami Herald tells of another technique Castro uses to keep that ever-important “propagandizable” infant mortality rate so low: sonograms and abortions:

Some doctors say they were told to use any means possible to keep the infant mortality rate low. Jesús Monzón, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Pinar del Río until he left in 1995, says pregnant mothers were required to appear monthly for sonograms and other tests to make certain the fetus was healthy.

“If there was any malformation in the fetus, they would interrupt the pregnancy,” said Monzón, now a lab technician at Mercy Hospital in Miami. A heart murmur or other serious problems required an abortion. This was “automatic,” he said. If the mother objected, a team from the hospital would persuade her an abortion was necessary.

Other sources also say abortion is a tool used to keep infant mortality low, including Andy Gomez at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami, and Carmelo Mesa-Lago, a retired University of Pittsburgh economics professor who has spent decades studying Cuba.

Recent Cuba abortion data is not available, but a study by the Pan American Health Organization from 1998 states Cuba had 70 abortions per 100 deliveries in 1992 and 59.4 in 1996, far higher than the 34 to 38 abortions per 100 live births reported during that time in the United States.

Hmm… they, ahem, “persuade” some mothers to have abortions?  Gee, I wonder what type of “persuasion” they use?