A close look at recent stories about Cuba’s life expectancy

La Nueva Cuba has an excellent piece on the recent fawning news articles about Cuba’s impressive-sounding life expectancy, or, as they put it, “Cuba’s Long Lie Expectancy.”

It seems the MSM was quick to jump on any news that makes Castro’s dictatorship look good, especially if it makes the U.S. look bad by comparison. But if they had had a shred of honesty and they’d have taken a closer look, it wouldn’t have made Castro look so good.

And they can’t have that, now, can they?

Media: Communist regimes are known to falsify and distort statistics, but they rarely get away with it unless Western media play along. They scored a big hit recently with data about Cuba’s storied life expectancy.

In a widely distributed news story, the Associated Press last week explained why Cubans were living such long, healthy lives under their 47-year totalitarian dictatorship. Taking the word of Cuban officials, it credited the island’s “mild climate,” “free medical care” and “low-stress Caribbean lifestyle.” Right on cue, CBS gave “thanks to the socialist island state’s free health-care system” that’s there so “fortunately.”

But media claims that socialism lets Cubans live longer makes no sense. Cuba’s living conditions portend anything but a long life. The media reports, moreover, often misinterpret the data. “The average Joe reading these stories doesn’t have all the background, and can be fooled by propaganda,” says Cuban author Humberto Fontova.

The MSM misinterpreting data?!?!?! I’m shocked, shocked!

In an interview with IBD, he (University of Pittsburgh professor Carmelo Mesa-Lagos, a Cuban demographics expert) explained that Cubans often do live long lives, but not because of balmy weather, good health care or any other reasons cited by Cuba’s propagandists.

From sanitation to housing, “Cubans have experienced deterioration in all health indicators,” Mesa-Lagos said. As a result, Cubans have seen an uptick in diseases such as hepatitis and acute diarrhea. The increase of water-borne diseases does not correlate with long life spans anywhere else in the world, he said.

Food and critical vitamin shortages, meanwhile, were also major problems in Cuba, notes Andy S. Gomez, assistant provost of the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies. “A deficit of Vitamin C and a lack of appropriate diet has caused Cubans to suffer eye diseases,” he said.

Mesa-Lagos agreed, saying that a few years ago, elderly Cubans experienced an epidemic of sudden blindness due to vitamin shortages. Worse yet, a third of Cuban doctors had been shipped to Venezuela, leaving many with no access to any health care at all, he added.

But, but, but, what about Cuba’s outstanding infant mortality rate?

“…How do you achieve this?” Mesa-Lagos asks. Countries differ, for example, in how they count births. If a newborn doesn’t live more than 24 hours, it often doesn’t show up in infant mortality statistics. The figure is depressed even further by abortion, he said, noting that Cubans are often pressured into abortions if there is a chance a baby might require extra medical care.

At seven in 10 pregnancies, Cuba’s abortion rate is Latin America’s highest, said Fontova. Cuba also has one of the world’s highest suicide rates, which also doesn’t show up in expectancy data.

Gee, I wonder why Cuba has such a high suicide rate? Maybe the lack of hope?


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